Lourdes Flooding Kills One, Closes Sanctuary

Lourdes flooding has killed one and closed down the sanctuary. Heavy rains have caused extensive flooding along the Gave de Pau river in France. The Lourdes site is known worldwide as a Catholic pilgrimage destination.

Our Lady of Lourdes sanctuary and shrine are located in Lourdes, France. The grounds of the sanctuary and shrine are owned by the Roman Catholic church. The property includes multiple places of worship, a sacred grotto, and accommodations for the sick.

As reported by Sacred-Destinations.com, The grotto of Massabille is the destination of many travelers. The waters of the grotto are said to heal the ill. Those seeking its healing properties travel to Lourdes from all over the world.

As the property is located along the Gave de Pau river, flood waters have reached the Lourdes sanctuary and grotto area. Authorities in Lourdes were forced to evacuate close to 200 people from the property, as the flood waters continued to rise. The sanctuary and grotto are currently closed to prevent injury to guests.

The Upper Basilica, which is located above the grotto, remains open.

As reported by France 24, a 70-year-old woman lost her life as she tried to exit her car. She was overtaken by the flood waters and drowned. Thankfully, there were no other serious injuries or deaths reported.

The Lourdes flooding is certainly not ideal. However, officials report that “the situation is not catastrophic.”

The proximity of the sanctuary to the river has caused several issues with flooding through the years. In 2012 the sanctuary and grotto were closed when heavy rains caused the river to rise above its banks. The resulting floods caused several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.

An assessment of the damage from the current Lourdes flooding has not been confirmed. The main concern at this point is to keep residents and visitors safe until the rains pass and the water recedes.

[Image via Wikimedia]