Pope John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick, a special day of prayer for suffering, on May 13, 1992. Since 1993, it is celebrated every year on the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. This day is a day to recognize the struggles of those especially with long-term illness as well as to honor health care workers of all types.
Why exactly was this day chosen?
When the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette, she asked her to dig and to find a source of water – the healing water. Since then, many pilgrims and visitors to Lourdes have reportedly been healed by intercessions of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became known as World Day of the Sick. The Lourdes water makes miracles even to those who never visit Lourdes, using this water in hope and faith of God for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
How to celebrate this day?
The Blessed Mother asked Bernadette, also, to pray. This day is a great opportunity to ask the Blessed Mother for her intercession. She is close to everyone who suffers and she intercedes with God for all of us. Do not hesitate to ask her today for the graces of healing for yourself or for your loved ones, for the healing of your body, mind and soul. The miracles are at hand. Just ask… this is a recommendation of our Foundress, Mother Alphonse Marie: “Not only did I continue in prayer; often, I even doubled it, and specifically because of this, my sufferings were always alleviated. Pray for the sick and for the conversion of sinners, pray with confidence. Mary will never reject a prayer directed to her. At the proper time, she will answer it if one perseveres in prayer. When a soul turns to Mary with childlike confidence, she will never be repulsed.”
Do not forget also to pray for health care workers of all types. They are efficacious helpers in the process of healing. Give thanks to God for them.
What more can you do today?
Cards and notes could express your concern for the sick person and appreciation to those who helped you. By phone calls, visiting the sick in the hospital or nursing homes, helping someone who is sick, or showing patience in your illness, it can be shown your kind attention towards sick or health care workers.
There are many ways you can celebrate this day fully.