It was on the 11th February 1858, when the Immaculate Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France for the first time. Eighteen apparitions took place in all and Lourdes soon became a centre of pilgrimage and prayers. It was Christianity's foremost pilgrim site.
The harbour is dominated by a Gothic church that fits Mġarr hill like a royal crown. In 1879, it is said, that a man who visited Gozo pointed out that the rocks of the hill were similar to the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes. Only 21 years had passed since young Bernardette was honoured with visions of Our Lady. The local pious could not take such a remark lightly. A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes soon appeared in the rocks.
The church itself was finished nine years later. Soon after World War II ended, an artistic marble altar was added to the imposing Lourdes Church, whose front commands splendid views of the harbour.
This is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the island, especially in the days coinciding with the 'visions of Our lady of Lourdes' in southern France. The benefactor of the statue was Carolina Mamo and the artist was Carlo Darmanin.
Source: Għajnsielem Local Council