Construction starts at Lourdes shrine

2011-01-04 21:52

Paris - Workers dangling from rock-climbing ropes on Tuesday began a monthlong construction effort to prevent stones from falling in the grotto where worshippers pray at the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes.

The Lourdes grotto, in the foothills of the Pyrenees in southwest France, is where an illiterate peasant girl, St Bernadette, said she had visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858.

About 6 million people, many of them ill, visit Lourdes every year to pray and drink its spring water, which believers say has healing powers.

The grotto is usually open to worshippers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it was closed off for nine hours on Tuesday so workers could begin uprooting shrubs and prepare to hammer heavy-duty pins into the facade and put up nets, said Lourdes spokesperson David Torchala in a phone interview.

Construction work is expected to continue through February 8, with the grotto closed from 06:00 to 15:00 every day.

A study by experts showed that humidity and other natural forces have caused small cracks to form in the rock.

Occasionally small pieces break off and tumble down from above.

"We gathered up a wheelbarrow's worth of little stones in the course of a year," Torchala said. "We're not saying the grotto is crumbling - far from that. But we need to take care of it."

Worshippers can pray just outside the grotto while it is closed off, and Lourdes' internet site also has a webcam fixed permanently on the site.

Read more on:    france

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

10 of the most expensive things that will leave your jaw hanging!
Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency towards setting your expectations too high which will result in disappointment. Try not to let your thoughts...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.