Our Class Saint
Saint Bernadette was born in Lourdes. She was the oldest of six children but was frail and often very sick. On Thursday, February 11, 1859, around the time of her First Communion, Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood. When she was out, Bernadette heard two gusts of wind and became startled. She saw a small woman dressed in white, with golden rosary beads, a blue belt and two golden roses on her feet. Bernadette soon realised that the lady who appeared to her was the Mary, the Mother of God. Mary appeared to Bernadette many times afterwards and asked that a chapel be built where she had revealed herself to Bernadette. Later, Bernadette told her mother about the apparition. Her parents told her not to go back to the grotto again, but she sneaked away to visit it anyway. On other occasions, Mary told Bernadette that people should pray and stop committing sin. She also instructed Bernadette to dig the ground in front of the grotto and drink the water that came from the spring that she would find. Later this same spring water would be drunk by many other people who were hoping for miracle cures for illnesses they were suffering.
In the beginning, many people mocked Bernadette and would not believe her story. However, on 3rd July, 1876, Pope Pius IX approved Bernadette’s account and the Lourdes Shrine as a place of apparition. To this day, the image of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is based on what Bernadette saw, is widely copied and is often displayed in churches, homes and other shrines around the world.
Bernadette was made a saint in 1933. Saint Bernadette is celebrate each year on 16th April and she is the patron saint of the poor, the sick and of shepherds.