Lourdes is a town in South West France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. In 1858, it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to a young girl, Bernadette. Today, 150 years later, over six million pilgrims visit the shrine each year.
Michael Collins was a charismatic Irish rebel, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He later formed the Irish Republican Army from rebel units after the Easter Rising. He played a major part in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921.
In 1922, Collins was ambushed and shot dead by members of the Anti-Treaty IRA.
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Lieutenant and General for the Parliament of England, defeated the Confederate and Royalist coalition in Ireland in 1650. He passed a series of penal laws against Roman Catholics, the majority of the population, and confiscated their land.
Leo XIII was Pope from 1878 to 1903. He is known for addressing issues of social justice, encouraging social legislation and trade unions.