Are you having trouble dealing with a serious illness? Does someone in your family or a friend or neighbor have a serious illness? Praying to St. Bernadette can help you and your loved ones find peace and might even help heal your illness. St. Bernadette of Lourdes is one of the most beloved Catholic saints and her story is very unusual.
Bernadette was the oldest of nine children born to poor parents in rural France in the late 1800s. The family was so poor that the five children that lived past infancy and her parents shared one room in a tiny dwelling. The children had no education and could not even read or write their own names. When Bernadette was 14 she claimed to have seen a vision of a lady in a grotto outside the town of Lourdes. She would go on to see this apparition 18 times. In the early visions the lady never told Bernadette who she was but the townspeople who had heard of Bernadette’s visions knew the lady was the Virgin Mary. The second to last time that the lady appeared to Bernadette she told Bernadette that she was the Immaculate Conception.
The townspeople of Lourdes at first did not believe Bernadette when she told them the story of her visions and thought that she might be suffering from some type of mental illness. When Bernadette described the woman that she had seen as having a white dress with a blue girdle and golden roses for feet the townspeople began to take her more seriously. During one of the visions the lady told Bernadette that she needed to tell the local priest to build a church on the spot where the woman appeared. But when Bernadette went to the priest he did not believe her and demanded that the lady perform a miracle to prove who she was. The priest told her that the lady should make a rose bush near the grotto bloom and flower out of season to prove who she was.
But instead the woman told Bernadette to drink the water that was near the grotto and eat the plants. At that time there was no spring or water near the grotto but Bernadette dug down through the earth with her hands and found water, and a few days later a spring flowed at the site of the grotto where the lady appeared. The water from this spring has been said to have special healing properties and more than 60 miraculous cures caused when people drank the water from the Lourdes spring were investigated by the Church and medical doctors who could find no other explanation for the cures.
Even though the lady never appeared to Bernadette again she lived a very religious life, joining a convent and living as a nun. She spent most of her time in prayer and serving others. She only learned to read and write at a very basic level yet when she wrote her memoirs late in her life her writing was perfect which led some people to say that her memoirs were divinely inspired. When St. Bernadette died her body didn’t decompose even though it had not been embalmed. Church elders dug up her body after 10 years of lying in a damp grave and there was no decomposition. They then dug the body up again after 15 years and still there was no decomposition. The church elders put her body display in a special glass coffin so that others could witness the miracle. Her body is still on display in the Church of Nevers and still has not decayed or shown any signs of decomposition.
St. Bernadette is the patron saint of the sick because of the healing properties of the spring at Lourdes. If you or someone you love is dealing with a major illness then you should pray to St. Bernadette and keep a statue of her in your home. Ask for her help and you never know how she might help you. Many people keep a vial of water from the Lourdes spring next to a statue of St. Bernadette and pray for help dealing with serious illnesses.
- Julia D Palmer
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