Friday, April 16, 2010

St. Bernadette Soubirous's feast day today

Saint Bernadette was the first saint I learned about. I was fascinated about her life of holiness and the fact that she was visited by the Blessed Mother.

Here's an excerpt from my book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book:

Marie Bernarde Soubirous was born at Lourdes,
France, on January 7, 1844. As a child she
was called Bernadette. She lived in bleak poverty with
her family, being uneducated and suffering from asthma.
On February 11, 1858, Bernadette went out to
collect firewood on the banks of the Gave River near
Lourdes. There, in a cave above the riverbank, the
young girl was granted a vision of a beautiful lady who
eventually identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary.
When Bernadette revealed the vision to others,
they responded with severe skepticism and jealousy.

Bernadette received additional daily visions from February
18 through March 4, which drew curious
crowds once the word got out. The civil authorities
were hostile toward Bernadette and tried to frighten
her into recanting her story.
Bernadette persisted in her claims. On February
25, a spring began to flow at the cave where there was
previously none, and the water proved to be miraculous,
capable of healing the sick. In the vision on
March 25, the beautiful woman said to Bernadette,

“I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Our Lady directed the girl to have a chapel built
on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the
spring and prevent the construction of the chapel. But
the influence and fame of the visions eventually
reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon
III, who made sure that construction went forward.
In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of
Notre Dame in Nevers, where she became a sister of
the community. She was treated harshly by the mistress
of novices. Eventually it was discovered that
Bernadette suffered from a painful, incurable illness
and she died April 16, 1879.

Lourdes has become one of the major pilgrimage
destinations of the world. The spring continues to
produce miracles, as well as over 27,000 gallons of
20 water each week. After investigation, the apparitions
were approved by the Church. Bernadette was beatified
in 1925 and canonized in 1933.

Prayer to St. Bernadette

Dear St. Bernadette, how I would have loved to be
with you during your privileged times with the
Blessed Mother! Your unwavering faith, trust, and
humility are an awesome inspiration for us all. Please
pray for me to the Blessed Mother for the graces that
I need most. Pray that I can have an increase in faith
to do the things that God calls me to do, no matter
how contrary they may seem to the world. Remind
me to pray for the conversion of sinners, as you were
called to do. St. Bernadette, pray for us and for all
who invoke your aid. If it is in God’s holy will, please
grant me (here mention your request). Amen.

[Excerpt from Catholic Saints Prayer Book: Moments of Inspiration from Your Favorite Saints (Our Sunday Visitor, 2008) available at my website:]


  1. St. Bernadette, I can not go to Lourdes. Bring Lourdes to me. Thanks, Santo

  2. Santo, I know, wouldn't that be wonderful? To bring Lourdes to you - pray the Rosary and meditate deeply on the mysteries. Ask St. Bernadette for her intercession. God bless you!


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