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St. St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes - Watercolor Painting Dimensions - 12.5" X 16"

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Bernadette Soubirous, visionary and messenger of the Immaculate Conception, was born January 7, 1844, in the little town of Lourdes, France. She was a shepherdess, the eldest of six children, and lived in extreme poverty but also great piety. Her people spoke a Basque dialect, and as her religion classes were taught in classic French, she and some of the other of the local children were thought to be a little simple-minded; in consequence, she was held back from receiving First Communion until age 14. This misunderstanding may have contributed to her humble attitude and natural quietness.

On February 11, 1858, while out gathering firewood with her sisters, she was confronted with the first of 18 visions: a beautiful & noble lady dressed in white, wearing a veil and having golden roses on her feet and a blue girdle ‘round her waist. During the visions, Bernadette was asked to drink from a fountain flowing in the grotto ~ there was no fountain, but the child began to dig, and a flow of clear water appeared, which became a spring. This water proved to have great healing powers, and eventually a church was built at the grotto, which draws millions every year.

Bernadette was questioned over and over by the local authorities and the bishop, and after 4 years, when her account was finally taken as the truth, the girl wished to retire from all the attention and crowds of people asking for her. She joined the Sisters of Charity at Nevers at the age of 22, working in the hospital, remaining as anonymous as possible and never refusing hard labor. When asked if she missed seeing the Virgin in her visions, she said that she was just happy to be used by her when needed, then put behind the door, like a broom, when not needed. She contacted tuberculosis of the bone and suffered horrible pain, and yet never complained, even when the elderly sister who watched over the novices continually plagued her. When the corrupted knee and leg were revealed at last, when Bernadette was taken to the infirmary, the sister repented of her angry, prejudicial behavior and became Bernadette’s devoted nurse. Bernadette died quietly at the age of thirty five. Her body remains perfect and uncorrupted. She was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.






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