by Saint Bernadette Soubirous
How happy my soul was, good mother, when I had the good fortune to gaze upon you!
How I love to recall the pleasant moments spent under your gaze, so full of kindness and mercy for us.
Yes, tender Mother, you stooped down to earth to appear to a mere child. You, the Queen of Heaven and Earth chose to use what is weakest in the eyes of men.
O Mary, give the precious virtue of humility to she who dares to call herself your child. O loving Mother, help your child to resemble you in everything and every way.
In a word, grant that I may be a child according to your heart and the heart of your dear son. Amen.
Neither the Superior Mother Josefina Imbert nor the novice mistress Mother Maria Teresa Vausou understood the treasure God had given them. They did admit that the Virgin appeared to Bernadette, but they saw her so “ordinary” that they had difficulty in seeing her holiness. Apparently their idea of holiness was different from the Church’s.
In the diocesan process of Beatification, Rev. P. Peach, professor of dogmatic theology in the seminary of Moulins, said to his students: “The testimony was this: Bernadette was very ordinary. But when asked if she was faithful to the rules, if she needed to be corrected for disobedience or in reference to the vows of poverty, chastity, all the sisters agreed and said: O no, none of this.”
Why did the superiors treat her poorly? We can only respond that it was part of Divine Providence for the sanctification of Bernadette. Particularly the Novice Mistress, Mother Maria Teresa Vauzou, caused much spiritual suffering for Bernadette during the 13 years she lived in the convent. Mother Maria Teresa was known for her observant eye and her psychological penetration; but she was never capable of capturing this pure soul’s intimate union with God and total abandonment to the desires of God’s Divine Will that formed her interior life. Bernadette never studied forms of prayer, but spent hours praying, reciting her rosary with great devotion. She lived in perpetual union with the Virgin Mary and with Jesus through Her
. Bernadette was completely immersed in God
Upon receiving her postulant habit, her religious name was given; it was her same baptismal name- Sister Marie Bernard.
Anticipated profession
Three weeks after receiving the habit, Bernadette became gravely ill with a new attack of tuberculosis and had to be admitted to the infirmary. This crisis of asthmatic suffocation and of coughing was so serious that the doctor thought she would die soon.
Mother Superior called the Bishop and he administered the Extreme Unction, but she was unable to receive the Viaticum because of her constant coughing and vomiting of blood. Thinking Bernadette was to die soon, Mother Superior gave her the consolation of permitting her to pronounce her vows. She talked to the Bishop and the community approved.
Knowing what she was about to do, Bernadette responded with a thankful smile. Bishop Forcade presided over the ceremony. Bernadette gave her consent by signs because she was not able to speak. She was given the profession veil. All believed she was dying but Bernadette always put her health in the hands of Mary.
The new religious fell asleep and woke up the next morning very happy, declaring to her Superior: “My Reverend Mother, you allowed me to do my religious profession, thinking I was going to die. Well look, I’m not going to die.”
The Mother Superior responded: “You silly girl, you knew you were not going to die and did not tell us. In this case, if you have not died by tomorrow morning I will take your veil away.”
Sister Marie Bernard simply responded with admirable heroic submission: “As you wish, Reverend Mother.” Even though this caused her great pain she knew how to accept this chalice that the Lord sent her.
Her mother died on December 8th, 1866 at the age of 45 years. This was one of the greatest sufferings that Bernadette experienced. In her pain she said to the Lord: “My God, you have willed this! I accept the chalice you have given me. May your Name be blessed.”
During her novitiate Bernadette was treated harshly and perhaps with more cruelty than the rest of the novices. Her companions would say: “It is not good to be Bernadette.” But she accepted all and saw the hand of God in everything.
Bernadette professed on October 30th, 1867 with the name of Sister Marie Bernard. She was 23 years old. The happiness of this moment, however, was stained by cruel humiliation. When time came to distribute the newly professed sisters their work, Mother Superior responded to the Bishop’s question: “What about Sister Marie Bernard?” “O Bishop, we do not know what to do. She is good for nothing. If you desire, Bishop, we can try to use her as a helper in the infirmary.” The Bishop agreed. Sister Marie Bernard received the pain of this humiliation in her heart without any complaints or tears, she simply accepted the chalice.
SHE VISITED HER BELOVED GROTTO FOR THE LAST TIME..Finally the great day came in July of 1866; she was 22 years old. She visited her beloved grotto for the last time with a farewell from the heart. “See this grotto? It was my heaven on earth.” The following day she said good-bye to her family and on July 4th, 1866, Bernadette left her birth place and never returned. Before departing she said a prayer inspired from the Magnificat in thanksgiving for the poverty of her servant. Directed to Mary she said: “Yes, dear Mother, you have come down to the earth to appear to a weak child. You, Queen of heaven and earth, have chosen what was the most humble according to the world.”
*On 11 February 1858, Soubirous went with her sister Toinette and Jeanne Abadie to collect some firewood and bones in order to buy some bread. After taking off her shoes and stockings to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she said she heard the sound of two gusts of wind (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move.
I came back towards the grotto and started taking off my stockings. I had hardly taken off the first stocking when I heard a sound like a gust of wind. Then I turned my head towards the meadow. I saw the trees quite still: I went on taking off my stockings. I heard the same sound again. As I raised my head to look at the grotto, I saw a lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same color as the chain of her rosary; the beads of the rosary were white....From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, came a dazzling light.[11]
Soubirous tried to make the sign of the Cross but she could not, because her hands were trembling. The lady smiled, and invited Soubirous to pray the rosary with her.[12] Soubirous tried to keep this a secret, but Toinette told her mother. After parental cross-examination, she and her sister received corporal punishment for their story.[13]

Three days later, 14 February, Soubirous returned to the Grotto. She had brought holy water as a test that the apparition was not of evil origin/provenance: "The second time was the following Sunday. ... Then I started to throw holy water in her direction, and at the same time I said that if she came from God she was to stay, but if not, she must go. She started to smile, and bowed ... This was the second time."[14]
Soubirous's companions are said to have become afraid when they saw her in ecstasy. She remained ecstatic even as they returned to the village. On 18 February, she spoke of being told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. She quoted the apparition: "The Lady only spoke to me the third time. ... She told me also that she did not promise to make me happy in this world, but in the next."[13]
Soubirous was ordered by her parents to never go there again. She went anyway, and on 24 February, Soubirous related that the apparition asked for prayer and penitence for the conversion of sinners.
Soubirous witnessing the apparition of the Virgin Mary. Stained glass, Bonneval.
The next day, she said the apparition asked her to dig in the ground and drink from the spring she found there. This made her dishevelled and some of her supporters were dismayed, but this act revealed the stream that soon became a focal point for pilgrimages.[15] Although it was muddy at first, the stream became increasingly clean. As word spread, this water was given to medical patients of all kinds, and many reports of miraculous cures followed. Seven of these cures were confirmed as lacking any medical explanations by Professor Verges in 1860. The first person with a "certified miracle" was a woman whose right hand had been deformed as a consequence of an accident. Several miracles turned out to be short-term improvement or even hoaxes, and Church and government officials became increasingly concerned.[16] The government fenced off the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the off-limits area. In the process, Lourdes became a national issue in France, resulting in the intervention of Emperor Napoleon III with an order to reopen the grotto on 4 October 1858. The Church had decided to stay away from the controversy altogether.

Soubirous, knowing the local area well, managed to visit the barricaded grotto under cover of darkness. There, on 25 March, she said she was told: "I am the Immaculate Conception" ("que soy era immaculada concepciou"). On Easter Sunday, 7 April, her examining doctor stated that Soubirous, in ecstasy, was observed to have held her hands over a lit candle without sustaining harm. On 16 July, Soubirous went for the last time to the Grotto. "I have never seen her so beautiful before," she reported.[16]
Feast 16 April (18 February in France)

For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. Psalm 16:10
St. Bernadette who died 139 years ago (April 16, 1879) in Lourdes, France and was buried; her body was discovered intact and incorrupt years ago. After church officials decided to examine it they discovered her body is still fresh until today and if you ever go to , France you can see her in the church in Nevers. Her body isn’t decomposing because during her lifetime, the Mother of Jesus would always appear to her and give messages and advice to all mankind on the right way to live on this earth. Many miracles have taken place in this place of Lourdes and still do until today. These pictures show her body after 136 years.
Bishop Gauthey of Nevers and the Church exhumed the body of Bernadette Soubirous on 22 September 1909, in the presence of representatives appointed by the postulators of the cause, two doctors and a sister of the community. They claimed that although the crucifix in her hand and her rosary had both oxidized, her body appeared incorrupt — preserved from decomposition. This was cited as one of the miracles to support her canonization. They washed and reclothed her body before burial in a new double casket. The Church exhumed the corpse a second time on 3 April 1919. A doctor who examined the body noted, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
In 1925, the church exhumed the body for a third time. They took relics, which were sent to Rome. A precise imprint of the face was molded so that the firm of Pierre Imans in Paris could make a wax mask based on the imprints and on some genuine photos to be placed on her body. This was common practice for relics in France as it was feared that the blackish tinge to the face and the sunken eyes and nose would make an unpleasant impression on the public. Imprints of the hands were also taken for the presentation of the body and the making of wax casts. The remains were then placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette at the mother house in Nevers. The site is visited by many pilgrims and the body of Saint Bernadette is still shown despite being nearly 130 years old.
Three years later in 1928, Doctor Comte published a report on the exhumation of Blessed Bernadette in the second issue of the Bulletin de I'Association medicale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes.
"I would have liked to open the left side of the thorax to take the ribs as relics and then remove the heart which I am certain must have survived. However, as the trunk was slightly supported on the left arm, it would have been rather difficult to try and get at the heart without doing too much noticeable damage. As the Mother Superior had expressed a desire for the Saint's heart to be kept together with the whole body, and as Monsignor the Bishop did not insist, I gave up the idea of opening the left-hand side of the thorax and contented myself with removing the two right ribs which were more accessible." "What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon.
Beatified 14 June 1927, Rome, by Pope Pius XI
Canonized 8 December 1933, Rome, by Pope Pius XI
Feast 16 April (18 February in France)

Bodily illness
Lourdes, France
shepherds and shepherdesses
against poverty
people ridiculed for their faith.
HOW HAPPY MY SOUL WAS, GOOD MOTHER HOW HAPPY MY SOUL WAS, GOOD MOTHER Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 09:31 Rating: 5

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