Handicapped pilgrims pictured in front of the Basilica of the Rosary in Lourdes (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
A man with a paralysed left leg has completed a 1,000-mile hike to Santiago de Compostela after being cured at Lourdes, it has been reported.
Television repair man Serge François, 40, said he felt a warm glow spread down his herniated leg during a visit to Lourdes in 2002.
He said he had been praying at the grotto where Bernadette Soubirous first had visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858, and all of his suffering suddenly disappeared.
After regaining the use of his leg, Mr François walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (the Way of St James), the pilgrimage route spanning France and Spain.
Mr François, from La Salle-et-Chapelle-Aubry in Maine, western France, reported what happened to the International Medical Committee of Lourdes and 20 doctors have now concluded that it was indeed “remarkable”.
Bishop Emmanuel Delmas of Angers said: “In the name of the Church, I publicly recognise the ‘remarkable’ character of the healing from which Serge François benefited at Lourdes on April 12, 2002. This healing can be considered a personal gift from God to man, as an event of grace, as a sign of Christ the Saviour.”
Bishop Delmas said the bureau of medical experts at Lourdes had concluded that the recovery was “sudden, complete, unrelated to any particular therapy and durable”.
The healing could be considered “as a personal gift of God for this man, as an event of grace, as a sign of Christ the Saviour”, he said, avoiding the word “miracle”.
More than 7,000 cases of unexplained healings have been recorded in Lourdes, but only 67 have been recognised as miraculous by the Church. The healing of Mr François may be the 68th.