In 1858, a young 14 year old girl named Bernadette Soubirous stated that she had witnessed several apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the Massabielle grotto in France. After a four-year enquiry, the Catholic Church authorized the Marian devotion of Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes. At the turn of the 20th century, numerous replicas of the grotto sheltering the Virgin Mary appeared around the world. The Congregation has about 25 of these small sanctuaries.