"The forces of light and darkness go hand-in-hand in the city of Lourdes."- Prof. Suzanne Kaufmann, Loyola Uni., Chicago, USA.
»I am the Immaculate Conception,« said the lady in white to a 14 year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, when they met by the banks of a dirty river, just outside the little town of Lourdes, by the french Pyrénées mountains. That was in 1858.
Every year more than five million pilgrims visit the Grotto of Lourdes. And since the apparitions, Lourdes has seen thousands of cases of unexplained cures. To this day, 68 cases have been recognized as miraculous by the Catholic Church.
In the summer of 2012, I went to Lourdes - a city which has been at the center of a heated debate in France for more than a century - to finish my final project from the Danish School og Media and Journalism.
During my final days, I meet Eric Saint-Germier. He lives in Lourdes and has terminal cancer. He tells me, that he is scared and bitter. He's bitter at the hope of the millions of pilgrims just outside his doorstep, while his death is imminent. And he's afraid of dying: »When I'm dead, there will be nothing left on Earth to testify that I have lived. No children, nothing. My fire goes out with me.« Eric Saint- Germier died on the 15th of October 2012, just a few days after the 68th miracle of Lourdes was proclaimed.