My mom sent this to me when she cleaned out Grandma's apartment - along with her crucifix, praying hands, hand-painted lamps, and a number of other things. This musicbox always fascinated me - she used to keep it on top of a dresser in her bedroom. It turned out that there was more of a story that came with it than I had expected.
When he was young, Zio Gino (Grandma's brother-in-law) had become quite ill with pleurisy (lung infection). So, his aunt and sister made a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France to pray for him.
"While no firm evidence exists to indicate that the grotto of Lourdes was a sacred place in ancient times, there is a powerful healing energy present that has made the site, in only 140 years, the most visited pilgrimage shrine in all Christendom. The origins of the pilgrimage to Lourdes began with Bernadette Soubirous, the fourteen year old daughter of devout Christian peasants. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, Bernadette saw apparitions of a white-robed lady 18 times in a small grotto called Massabiele, along the banks of the river Gave de Pau. In the apparitions the lady told Bernadette to "go tell the village priest to build a chapel here" and that many people would soon come in procession to the holy grotto. On the day of the 16th apparition, March 25, the lady revealed herself as Mary. During her ecstatic trance in front of the grotto that day, Bernadette suddenly rose from her knees, walked a short distance, and fell to the ground. Fervently she began to dig in the earth until a small puddle of water appeared. Over the next few days the puddle gradually formed into a pool and eventually became the sacred spring for which Lourdes is now so famous.
From 1864 to 1872 the site was mostly a regional pilgrimage destination attracting approximately 30,000 persons per year. Initially the shrine was not known for its curative power but after 1873, when incidents of healing at the spring began to be reported, the shrine rapidly developed a national and then international reputation for having therapeutic powers. Pilgrims visiting Lourdes for its healing powers bathe in pools filled with cold water piped from Bernadette's spring. Reports of miracles are very thoroughly examined and evidence seems to indicate that there are indeed many cases of verifiable healings at the grotto."