Widespread reports of favours which the faithful were said to have received at the sacred grotto, in time increased the crowds of people, which the devotion of the place was calling to the grotto. Therefore the Bishop of Tarbes, who had been impressed by the report of the miracles and the sincerity of the girl, four years after these events, after a judicial inquiry, recognized the supernatural character of the apparition, and permitted the worship of the Immaculate Virgin to be held in the grotto. A chapel was soon built; and since then, almost innumerable crowds of the faithful, because of vows and prayers, have come here every year from France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and all parts of Europe and the most remote parts of America, and the name of the Immaculate of Lourdes hath become famous in all countries. Water from the fountain, carried to all parts of the globe, hath restored health to the sick. And the Catholic world, mindful of so many benefits, hath built beautiful churches there. Countless banners, proofs of favours received, sent there by cities and nations, decorate the temple of the Virgin with a marvellous beauty. The Immaculate Virgin is constantly venerated, as if in her own palace. The days are filled with prayers, sacred singing, and other solemn ceremonies; and the nights are sanctified by the pious supplications of almost countless people who walk in procession carrying lighted candles and torches, and singing the praises of the blessed Virgin.
It is evident to all that pilgrimages of this kind have revived faith in a world grown indifferent, have given inspiration to the profession of the Christian faith, and have wonderfully increased devotion to the Immaculate Virgin. The Christian people have priests as leaders in this wonderful profession of faith, who bring their flocks there. Even bishops frequently visit the holy spot, lead pilgrimages, and take part in the more solemn feasts. And it is not uncommon for the eminent Cardinals of the Roman Church themselves to be seen as humble pilgrims. The Roman Pontiffs themselves also have, out of their piety towards the Immaculate of Lourdes, showered many noble gifts upon the sacred temple. Pius IX enriched it with sacred indulgences, gave it the privilege of an Archconfraternity and the title of a minor basilica; and delegated his apostolic legate in France to crown, with solemn rites, the statue of the Mother of God venerated in that place. Leo XIII also granted very many favours, jubilee indulgences on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Apparition, and promoted pilgrimages by his authority and suggestion, and ordained that the solemn dedication of the church, under the title of the Rosary, should be done in his name. Moreover he crowned all these favours by granting, at the request of many bishops, the celebration of a solemn feast under the title of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate, with a proper Office and Mass. Finally Pius X, out of devotion to the Mother of God, granted the petition of many bishops that this feast should be extended to the Universal Church.