Blessed Catholic Saints and Angels

~~Witnesses of Faith pray for us ! ~~

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saint Bernadette

The saint of Lourdes ... the saint of penance ... the saint of poverty

Saint Bernadette Soubirous was born at Lourdes, in the Pyrenees mountains, in 1844. This young girl, fragile of health, born of a very poor but pious family, at fourteen years of age witnessed eighteen apparitions of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes, from February 11, 1858 to July 16th of the same year.
She was instructed to make known the healing powers which the Blessed Virgin, by Her presence, would give to the miraculous spring of Lourdes. A worker who had lost an eye in an explosion recovered his sight when he washed his face in this water; a dying child was plunged into the small basin which had formed around the spring, and the next day began to walk. The police attempted to stop the crowds from going to the Grotto for the foretold apparitions, but were unable to do so.
On March 25th, the Beautiful Lady identified Herself in response to Bernadette’s request: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Neither ignorance nor poverty, not even the sickly aspect of Bernadette prevented the appreciation of her virtues of simplicity and piety.
The Priest of Bartres, Abbe Arder , on one occasion said: “Look at this small child. When the Blessed Virgin wants to appear on earth she chooses children like her.”
His words were prophetic, for in a few months the Blessed Virgin started to appear to Bernadette in the grotto of Massabielle, near Lourdes.
Two virtues stood out in Bernadette: piety and modesty. To be pious it is not necessary to be intelligent.
Even after she became a religious, she herself said that she did not know how to pray and would remain long hours in prayer. Her prayer was not mechanical; she would speak to God and the Virgin just as we speak to a person face to face. It was a prayer from the heart: intense, honest and effective.
She loved prayer. She knew very well how to pray the Holy Rosary, which she always carried in her pocket. She had the Rosary in her hands when Our Lady appeared. Her first response in times of difficulties or trials was to take out the Rosary and start praying.
This small soul chosen by the Virgin had much to suffer both morally and physically until her death. But we should never forget that God guided this small child and she responded with humility, abandonment, faith and courage. Bernadette had virtues that were criticized by the people as “defects.” Because of this error of the people, the authenticity of the apparitions was doubted. This child of only 14 years old (she became 14 on Jan. 7th, 1858) had to be wise, firm, extraordinarily courageous, and how to make discernments and confront the people trying to dissuade her, among them priests, bishops, head of police, attorneys, etc.
Bernadette frequently had to confront the Pastor of Lourdes, Abbe Peyramale, who had a reputation of having a bad temper. In all the occasions that our saint went to visit him, even fearful, she always controlled this natural tendency. Her will to accomplish the mission Our Lady gave her was more powerful than the bad temper of the priest. We see how Bernadette fulfilled the desires of the Virgin even though she had obstacles and personal weaknesses.
She had to go through many tribulations; big and small humiliations bombarded her. She said: “When my emotions are too strong, I remember the words of Our Lord: ‘It is I, don’t be afraid.’ I immediately appreciate and thank Our Lord for this grace of rejections and humiliations from my Superiors and sisters. It is the love of this Good Master who would remove the roots from this tree of pride. The more little I become, the more I grow in the Heart of Jesus.”
Let us pray :
St. Bernadette, little shepherdess of Lourdes favoured with eighteen apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with the privilege of lovingly conversing with her, now that you are eternally enjoying the entrancing beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God, do not forsake me your devoted client, who am still in the valley of tears.
Intercede for me that I too, may walk the simple paths of faith. Help me to imitate your example, at our heavenly Queens request, by saying the Rosary daily and by doing penance for sinners. Teach me to imitate your wonderful devotedness to God and Our Lady the Immaculate Conception so that like you, I may be blessed with the grace of lasting faithfulness and enjoy the happiness in heaven of the eternal vision of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.