Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous (January 7, 1844 – April 16, 1879)
St Bernadette Soubirous was a miller’s daughter born in Lourdes, France. Bernadette is best known for her visions of a small young lady who asked for a chapel to be built at a cave-grotto in France where the apparitions of Mary occurred between February 11 – July 16, 1858.
Bernadette’s mother had given birth to nine children but only four survived infancy. Bernadette was the oldest of the four children. Hard times had fallen on France and the family lived in extreme poverty. By the time of the events of the grotto, her family’s financial and social status had declined to the point where they lived in a one-room basement.
On February 14, Bernadette, then aged 14, went to gather firewood. She came to a cave near a flowing river. Her friends played and sang. But Bernadette stood still, her eyes wide with wonder. She described the lady as wearing a white veil, a blue sash and with a yellow rose on each foot compatible with “a description of any statue of the Virgin in a village church”. This was Bernadette’s first vision. Bernadette told her parents and friends. At first they did not believe her. Her mother was embarrassed and tried to forbid her to go. The local police commissioner called her into his office and threatened to arrest her but there was no evidence of wrong doing so there was little they could do. Bernadette remained stubbornly calm and consistent during her interrogations, never wavering from her story or her attitude and never claiming any knowledge beyond what the lady had told her in her visions. This period of almost daily visions became known as ‘holy fortnight’.
Bernadette never claimed it to be Mary but consistently using the word ‘aquero’ which means extreme reverence for a sacred reality. Bernadette asked the lady what her name was many times during her apparitions. The lady finally told her “I am the Immaculate Conception” Bernadette saw the lovely Lady again and again. The lovely Lady ordered her to dig a hole at the spot. A fresh, cool spring came bubbling up out of the ground. Sick people who bathed in it grew well. Many of the blind could see again. “Build here,” said the lovely Lady, “a great church. And tell people to pray and do penance and walk in processions.” They did all this.
Soon the wonderful Shrine of Lourdes was built where miracles happen even to this day. Disliking all the attention she was attracting, Bernadette went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers where she learned to read and write. She then joined the Sisters at the age of 22. She spent the rest of her short life there, working as an assistant in the infirmary, doing embroidery work for altar cloths and vestments. She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee. She eventually died at the age of 35 from her long term illness. St. Bernadette’s Feast Day is April 16th.
(Patron of the Sick)
Pray this Powerful prayer for Healing to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes….
Dear Saint Bernadette, Chosen by Almighty God as a channel of His Graces and Blessings, and through your humble obedience to the requests of Our Blessed Mother, Mary, you gained for us the Miraculous waters of Spiritual and physical healing.
We implore you to listen to our pleading prayers that we may be healed of our Spiritual and physical imperfections.
Place our petitions in the Hands of our Holy Mother, Mary, so that She may place them at the feet of Her beloved Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that He may look on us with mercy and compassion:
Help us, O Dear Saint Bernadette to follow your example, so that irrespective of our own pain and suffering we may always be mindful of the needs of others, especially those whose sufferings are greater than ours.
As we await the Mercy of God, remind us to offer up our pain and suffering for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins and blasphemies of mankind.
Pray Saint Bernadette, that like you, we may always be obedient to the will of Our Heavenly Father, and that through our prayers and humility we may bring consolation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that have been so grievously wounded by our sins.
Holy Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, Pray for us.