Longford man cured at Lourdes
Patrick Casey's story of miracle healing is not an isolated one. This image shows all the crutches that have been discarded by pilgrims who no longer needed them after visiting the holy site Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 20 September 1913

Longford man cured at Lourdes

Published: 20 September 1913

The Irish National Pilgrimage to Lourdes has ended with reports of a miracle cure for a Longford man who was one of 3,000 pilgrims who left the country earlier this month.

Patrick Casey, a blacksmith from Lanesboro, Co. Longford, had been the victim of a shocking inflammation of the joints and a paralysis of the lower limbs. He had been unable to travel unassisted and had to be carried by medical attendants from boats and trains to his hotels at Paris and at Lourdes. After going to the baths in Lourdes yesterday, however, it was reported that he had started to walk.

The miracle was attested by J.A. Glynn, chairman of the Irish Insurance Commissioners, who said: ‘I assisted this morning at the baths. He could not walk. He had to be wheeled to the Grotto. Myself and a Frenchman had to lift him out of the chair to the Baths. We had to lift him back again, and when I saw him safe in the chair I left him to be wheeled back to the hospital.’

Mr. Glynn continued: ‘When I went up to the train this morning I heard a great commotion. People were shouting that a miracle had been wrought. ‘Where are you crutches?’ I asked. ‘I have asked the Blessed Mother to take them’, he said. ‘Now I don’t want them any longer.’ And then he walked away easily to his carriage.

The pilgrimage to Lourdes was led by Cardinal Michael Logue and five Irish bishops and included 300 Irish priests who had sailed to Lourdes from Dublin, Rosslare and Belfast. Many of the pilgrims were invalids and they were accompanied on their journey by a team of doctors, nurses and ambulance attendants.

Invalids awaiting their turn. (Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 20 September 1913)

The unveiling of an Irish Memorial – a Celtic Cross on Calvary Hill, designed and built by the Waterford man, William Gaffney – was a highpoint of the pilgrimage. When the monument was stripped of its covering loud cheers rang out across the mountain passes around Lourdes.

The unveiling was followed by a speech from Cardinal Logue who appealed to Irish people to ignore the ‘awful movement’ which was attempting to distract them by drawing their attention to material thoughts and to lose sight of their souls’ salvation.

He continued: ‘This day is a great day for Ireland. You have come here to this valley in the Pyrenees in your thousands to make open profession of the Faith within you; to bid defiance to the scoffers... Let nothing – no false doctrines, no thought of material gain – let nothing, my brethren, stand between us and our homage to God.’

Following Cardinal Logue’s speech, the pilgrims burst into song and gave renditions of ‘God Save Ireland’, ‘The West’s Awake’, ‘A Nation Once Again’ and ‘O’Donnell abú’.

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