Saint Bernadette Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Category: Biography

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Bernadette was the daughter of Francois Soubirous, a miller, and his wife Louise, a laundress, and was the eldest of five children who survived infancy. Bernadette was born on 7 January 1844, and baptized at the local parish church, St. Pierres, on January 9. Bernadettes poor family lived in a single un-heated room. On 11 February 1858, Bernadette, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood and bones with her sister and a friend at the grotto of Massabielle outside Lourdes, when she had an experience that completely changed her life and the town of Lourdes where she had lived.

On this day Bernadette claimed she had the first of 18 visions of what she termed a small young lady standing in a niche in a rock. Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing. On her next visit, she said that the beautiful lady asked her to return to the grotto every day for fifteen days. At first she told her mother, but she didnt believe her so she had forbidden her to go, and Bernadette could not persuade her mother to allow her to go.

The supposed apparition did not identify herself until the seventeenth vision, although the townspeople who believed she was telling the truth assumed she saw the Virgin Mary, Bernadette never claimed it to be Mary. Bernadette described the lady as wearing a white veil, a blue girdle, and had a golden rose on each foot; she held a rosary of pearls. Bernadettes story caused a sensation with the townspeople, who were divided in their opinions on whether or not Bernadette was telling the truth. Some believed her to have a mental illness, and demanded she be put in an asylum.

She soon had a large number of people following her on her daily journey, some out of curiosity and others who firmly believed that they were witnessing a miracle. The other contents of Bernadettes reported visions were simple, and focused on the need for prayer and penance. However, at the thirteenth of the alleged apparitions, on 2 March, Bernadette told her family that the lady had said Please go to the priests and tell them that a chapel is to be built here. Let processions come hither. Accompanied by two of her aunts, Bernadette went to parish priest Father Dominique Peyramale with the request.

A brilliant but often roughspoken man with little belief in claims of visions and miracles, Peyramale told Bernadette that the lady must identify herself. Bernadette said that on her next visitation she repeated the priests words to the lady, but that the lady bowed a little, smiled and said nothing. Then Father Peyramale told Bernadette to prove that the lady was real by asking her to perform a miracle. He requested that she make the rose bush beneath the niche where she appeared to Bernadette bud and flower on the last week of February.

As Bernadette later reported to her family and to church and civil investigators, at the ninth visitation the lady told Bernadette to drink from the spring that flowed under the rock, and eat the plants that grew freely there. Although there was no known spring, and the ground was muddy, Bernadette saw the lady pointing with her finger to the spot, and said later she assumed the lady meant that the spring was underground. She did as she was told by first digging a muddy patch with her bare hands and then attempting to drink the brackish drops.

She tried three times, failing each time. On the fourth try, the droplets were clearer and she drank them. She then ate some of the plants. When finally she turned to the crowd, her face was smeared with mud and no spring had been revealed. Understandably, this caused much skepticism among onlookers who shouted, Shes a fraud! or Shes insane! while embarrassed relatives wiped the adolescents face clean with a handkerchief. In the next few days, however, a spring began to flow from the muddy patch first dug by Bernadette.

Some devout people followed her example by drinking and washing in the water, which was soon reported to have healing properties. Despite initial scepticism from the Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after an investigation, and the apparition is known as Our Lady of Lourdes. After her death, Bernadettes body has remained incorrupt attracting millions of Christians of all denominations each year. On 8 December 1933, she was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church; her Feast Day is celebrated on 16 April.

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