Marie Bernadette Soubirous
Feast Day: February 18
Born at Lourdes, France, on January 7, the oldest child of
miller Francis Soubirous and his wife, Louise, she was called
Bernadette as a child, lived in abject poverty with her parents, was
uneducated, and suffered from asthma. On February 11, 1858, while
collecting firewood on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, she
saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in a cave above the riverbank.
Her report provoked skepticism, but her daily visions of the Lady from
February 18 through March 4 drew great crowds of people. Despite great
hostility on the part of the civil authorities, she persisted in her
claims, and on February 25 caused a spring to flow where none had been
before. On March 25, the vision told her it was the Immaculate
Conception and directed her to build a chapel on the site.
In 1866, she became a Sister of Notre Dame at Nevers, and she remained
there until she died at Nevers on April 16. Lourdes soon became one of
the great pilgrimage centers of modem Christianity, attracting millions
of visitors. Miracles were reported at the shrine and in the waters of
the spring, and after painstaking investigation the apparitions were
ecclesiastically approved. Bernadette was canonized in 1933 by Pope
of Saint Bernadette
"Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast, but in my
O Jesus! Release all my affections and draw them upwards.
crucified heart sink forever into Thine and bury itself in the
wound made by the entry of the lance."
Prayer to St. Bernadette
O Saint Bernadette, who, as a meek and pure child, did eighteen
times at Lourdes contemplate the beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God
and received her messages, and who afterwards wished to hide yourself
from the world in the convent of Nevers, and to offer thyself
there as a victim for the conversion of sinners, obtain for us the
grace of purity, simplicity and mortification that we also may attain
to the vision of God and of Mary in Heaven. Amen.
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