|Bernadette, who are you ?|
|Bernadette in Lourdes | Bernadette in Nevers|
in Lourdes : 1844
- 1844 – 1858: her childhood, her family, the period of the Apparitions.
- 1858 – 1866: after the Apparitions, at the Hospice in Lourdes with the Sisters of
Charity of Nevers.
in Nevers : 1866 - 1879
|In Lourdes, you were a teenager of your time|
Lourdes to Nevers, from the Boly Mill to Saint-Gildard, from your birth
on the 7th January 1844, to your death on the 16th April 1879, what an amount
of upheaval in your life Bernadette SOUBIROUS !
The eldest daughter of a bankrupt miller, imprisoned unjustly because of his extreme poverty, you lived in one tumbledown mill after another until you came to the Cachot. You experienced illness, hunger, exclusion, uncertainty about the future and the scorn of those who were well off. You could hardly read or write.
Blessed Virgin chose me because I was very poor and uneducated"
A gust of wind on the 11th February 1858 was the beginning of the story. The Virgin Mary appeared for the first time to Bernadette in the Grotto of Massabielle, in Lourdes.
you oblige me by coming here for the next fifteen days?"
teenager of her time who suffered
of the emerging
Her love for her family and her faith in God helped her to hold her head
high in the streets of Lourdes.
In the midst of this reality, Bernadette had the unexpected encounter with "The Lady of Massabielle" God gave her an understanding of his Love which turns the established order of things upside down: at a time when the learned and the powerful were stating in a very positive way that reason alone could remake the world, he sought out a little girl who didn't understand French.
"Yes" humbly but holding
the evening of the 7th July 1866, Bernadette crossed the threshold of
St. Gildard, Mother House of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity
of Nevers. Bernadette had come to know the Sisters while living at the
Hospice in Lourdes.
Often ill during the
final stages of her life, Bernadette spent long periods of time in the
infirmary - Holy Cross.
Bernadette, like other sick people, came to understand the humiliation of dependence and the suffering caused by apparent uselessness. This suffering and humiliation became an opportunity to remain open to others and to live in profound solidarity with those going through the same experience :
...Certainly I would not have chosen this inactivity to which I have been
Bernadette was not passive, nor was she turned in on herself. In order not to become submerged in her suffering she remained in a state of continual vigilance.
Those close to her related how "the sufferings of her final illness were atrocious. Her weakened chest was burning; the decaying knee bone caused an intense gnawing pain". The weeks spent in the Holy Cross infirmary were certainly a time not only of physical but also spiritual testing for Bernadette, the "night" of faith. She begged Jesus for the strength and confidence she needed, drawing them from his sufferings on the Cross
| St. Bernadette |
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The Sisters of Charity
of Nevers |
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