Health and Healing Springs
Many who experience apparitions also experience healing. This has been particularly the case in places like Lourdes, France, and in India, where the shrine of Our Lady of Good Health exists to this day. Many apparition sites contain healing springs (this is true of both Lourdes and India) where people can wash themselves and drink of the water as they seek healing.
It is remarkable to consider the vast number of healing springs or ponds associated with the Virgin Mary all over the world, in places such as Vailankanni, India; Lourdes and LaSalette, France; Banneux, Belgium; and many other locations, including the one at the House of Mary in Ephesus, Turkey.
The Virgin Mary is often referred to as Our Lady of Good Health in India because of the continual healing she has brought to people of many faiths beginning with the healing of a boy, who was lame, to whom she appeared personally during the sixteenth century.
Although many seek physical healing when they visit apparition sites, often the healing that they experience is instead emotional or spiritual. Some also report finding strength to endure suffering in their lives as a result of visiting apparition sites.
Pope John Paul II lost his mother at a very early age, and many people have connected his deep devotion to the Virgin Mary to his experience of early loss as a child. This is also the case with the much-loved Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who became devoted to the Virgin Mary at a young age after her own mother died.
Saint Thèrèse of Lisieux came from a very pious Catholic family in which all of the girls were named for the Virgin Mary. Because Thérèse lost her mother at a young age, she experienced intense anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. She suffered from these afflictions for most of her childhood. When she was ten years old, she was praying before a statue of the Virgin Mary and she saw the statue smile at her (this statue had also spoken to her mother twice). From that moment forward, Thérèse reported experiencing a mental wholeness and healing that she had not experienced since her mother's death. This sense of mental wholeness continued for the rest of her short life until her death from tuberculosis at age twenty-four. Although Thérèse did experience feelings of intense darkness and despair near the end of her life, she always said that just beneath that darkness there was great joy.
How does one know when healing will occur?
In some cases, healings come as a result of multiple prayers and requests, and in some cases, people pray earnestly for healing and do not receive it. There is no uniform rule for how, when, or if healings will occur.