St. Bernadette

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St. Bernadette

Bernadette Soubirous -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, is best known for her participation in the Marian apparitions of a "small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby garbage dump of cave-grotto within Massabielle where apparitions are said to have occurred between February 11th and July 16th 1858. She would later receive recognition when the lady who appeared to her identified herself as the Immaculate Conception. Her feast day is April 16th. February 18th in France.

Bernadette Soubirous was declared venerable by Pope Pius X, and "Blessed" on 14 June 1925, by Pope Pius XI. She was officially canonized a Saint by Pope Pius XI on 8 December 1933.The year 2009 was declared "The Year of Bernadette

After thirty years undisturbed in the tomb, Sister Marie Bernard's body was exhumed for examination. The cause for sainthood had begun. When the stone was lifted from the vault, the coffin was immediately seen. It was carried to the room prepared for it and placed on two trestles covered with a cloth. On one side was a table covered with a white cloth. The remains of Bernadette were to be placed on this table. The wooden coffin was unscrewed and the lead coffin cut open to reveal the body in a state of perfect preservation. There was not the slightest trace of an unpleasant smell. The Sisters who had buried her thirty years earlier noted only that her hands had fallen slightly to the left.

Bernadette went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers where she finally learned to read and write. She then joined the Sisters at their motherhouse at Nevers at the age of 22. The Mother Superiour at the time gave her the name Marie-Bernarde in honor of her godmother who was named "Bernarde". She spent the rest of her brief life there, working as an assistant in the infirmary and later as a sacristan, creating beautiful embroidery for altar cloths and vestments. She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee. She eventually died of her long-term illness at the age of 35 on 16 April 1879. Her body was laid to rest in the Saint Gildard Convent.

Saint Bernadette

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