St. Bernadette Soubirous

Feast Day – April 16

Patron Saint of IllnessesSt. Bernadette2

This saint is one of my personal favorites!  Let me tell you why!

Bernadette was a poor girl in Lourdes, France, born in 1844, who had to work as a shepherdess to support her family.  She was in the meadow one day collecting firewood when she encountered a beautiful lady.  She asked Bernadette to pray her rosary for the sake of sinners.  At first she didn’t know who the Lady was, but she was so enraptured by the vision she felt compelled to share her visions with others.  This obtained for her widespread doubt and disapproval, by her family and friends, as well as local authorities.  But she continued to have visions of the Lady.  In fact, she was blessed to see Mary seventeen more times.  On March 25, 1858, Mary finally revealed to her, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  The Immaculate Conception is a title that had been used by theological scholars to describe Mary since the early church, yet a young peasant girl would be unfamiliar with such a term.  Mary sent Bernadette a sign by asking her to dig in the ground, out of which came a healing spring of water.  This spring produces 27,000 gallons of water each day and thousands of pilgrims still flock to Lourdes to pray and visit the healing waters.

She entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in 1866 and died at the young age of 35.  During her time at the convent, she was content to be out of the limelight and said, “But I was just used.  The Virgin used me as a broom to remove dust.  When the work is done, the broom is put behind the door again.”  Thirty years later, she was canonized on December 8 – The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.    St. Bernadette

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