There are other kinds of healing that take place in Lourdes (see earlier post here), not least the healing of the relationship between those who are sick or disabled and those who are in good health.
I’ve always thought that the greatest miracle in Lourdes is the fact that you can go into a bar in a wheelchair or on a stretcher and order a beer without getting any strange looks from the staff or the other customers.
In one sense, the sick and disabled are given special treatment: special care in the hotels and hospitals, special places in the religious services, etc. But the really impressive aspect of Lourdes is that in the ordinary cultural life of the town – shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas – there is absolutely no distinction made between the sick and the healthy. They are all, equally, part of the same society.
In many ways attitudes to sickness and disability are getting better in Britain. But there are all sorts of contradictions, and I think this needs another post…