Today’s the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Here are a few of the reasons why she’s so special to me.

1. It’s a great story. If you are looking for some spiritual reading, I recommend reading the accounts of each apparition (link opens the listing; when you start with the first, you can click “next” all the way to the end). There are 18 of them, but I didn’t understand, from all the summaries I read, what Bernadette experienced, until I read them.

2. My mother-in-law asks her to pray for me. I’m still not sure why she picked Our Lady of Lourdes, but she’s told me a few times that she specifically asks Our Lady of Lourdes to pray for me. Her petition, if I remember it correctly, is something along the lines of, “Mary, Sarah loves you so much. Please help her {specific details}.” It brings tears to my eyes that I have two mother-figures working together to give me the most important kind of help. I can’t help but have a soft spot for Our Lady of Lourdes, knowing that she’s at work on my behalf.

3. She’s beautiful. There’s inspiration in beauty. Mary embodies all that is beautiful, and she reminds me, as Our Lady of Lourdes, that I can be too. It’s not a vain goal; it’s a way of seeking to be closer to God. Everyone who’s ever met Mary in an apparition always mentions her beauty. She’s not just pretty; she’s beautiful. In the images that I’m sure barely capture the true beauty, I’m inspired.

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4. She reminds me of my goal in her words to Bernadette, “I don’t promise you happiness in this life, but in the next.”

5. She loves me. I don’t have proof that I can explain here, evidence that would hold sway with anyone with half a doubt. But I know she does. I just do.

6. It’s a reminder that what’s important isn’t always obvious. At Lourdes, Mary appeared to a child, a child who was not very bright, according to her aunt, who was not very big, according to the fact that she was called by the diminutive form of her name, and not very remarkable, according to everyone who knew her.

7. At Lourdes, Mary shows me that the imperfect can be made perfect. She also shows me that my own categorizing of perfect — including intellect, knowledge, comfort — is imperfect. Through Lourdes, I see a Mary who reminds me that, as I seek perfection, I sometimes lose sight of what my goal should be in my rush to achieve the ever-elusive prize of perfection.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.