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Saint Bernadette and the miracles at Lourdes

by Robbie Doyle on 09-09-2019 in Aritcles1

Pilgrimage to France - Saint Bernadette of Lourdes

Lourdes and  saint bernadette

Lourdes is a town in southwestern France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. It’s known for the Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes, or the Domain, a major Catholic pilgrimage site. Each year, more than 6 million visits the Grotto of Massabielle (Grotto of the Apparitions) where, in 1858, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a local girl, Bernadette. In the grotto, pilgrims can drink or bathe in water flowing from a spring.

Saint Bernadette

Bernadette was born on January 7th 1844 in the town of Lourdes. Her real name was Marie-Bernarde Soubirous and her family were very poor. In her early years, Bernadette suffered from a series of illnesses, this included catching Cholera in the epidemic that swept across France in 1854.f that wasn’t enough the child was also stricken with Asthma and other ailments.

The Virgin Mary

Between February 11th and July 16th 1858 Bernadette claimed to have had visions of the Virgin Mary in the nearby Massabielle Grotto.

The Virgin Mary is supposed to have said to Bernadette “I am the immaculate conception” In another message, the Virgin is supposed to have told the child that a chapel should be built on that very same spot.

Bernadette the liar

As you could imagine, a teenage girl telling stories of not just seeing but also talking with the mother of Christ was not believed. Time and again her parents, the local clergy and even the Lourdes authorities tried to get Bernadette to recant. She would not. The girl carried on transmitting the messages she believed she was receiving.

When the public attention became too much, Bernadette was sent off to be a border with the Sisters of Charity of Nevers. In 1866 Bernadette was granted a novitiate (The novitiate, also called the novitiate, is the period of training and preparation that a Christian novice (or prospective) monastic, apostolic, or member of a religious order undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether he or she is called to vowed religious life.)

After completing her training, Bernadette spent the rest of her years in prayer and seclusion. Plagued by illness for the rest of her life. She died in agony from Tuberculosis at the age of 35 on April 16th 1879.

Bernadette was remembered as a kind and gentle soul who was both loved and revered by all who knew her.

Bernadette the Saint

Chapel at Nevers, France saint bernadette body

She was eventually canonised by Pope Pius XI. Her visions were deemed to be authentic. Lourdes is, of course, a major pilgrimage site for those seeking healing but the body of Saint Bernadette rests in the chapel of the St. Gildard convent, Nevers.

The body of Saint Bernadette has been exhumed on several occasions. 1909.1919 and 1925 as part of the Canonisation process. Her body now rests in a crystal casket in the chapel at Nevers. Her body was deemed by the pope  'incorruptible' (the bodies of saints are deemed incorruptible and do not decay). However, when examined by doctors there were several areas of decay. The hands and face of Bernadette are made of wax.

Lourdes and the miracles

A total of 67 miraculous healings have been recognised at Lourdes since 1858, when the 14-year-old peasant girl, Bernadette claimed that she had seen the Virgin Mary in a cave.

However, there have only been four miracles since 1978, the most recently last year when an Italian woman was said to have been healed of acute rheumatism.

This does not stop the pilgrims and tourist from visiting the grotto and the area.

Visiting Lourdes

It is estimated that more than six million people visit Lourdes every year! This includes 100,000 volunteers and 80,000 sick and disabled people. As you can imagine, finding accommodation might be a bit trying.

Rent-in-France has properties not too far from Nevers and Lourdes. Property ref: ID 6406 and 108

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