Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879)
to Women of Vision
Bernadette of Lourdes was born to an impoverished
family in southern France in 1844. While gathering wood near a grotto,
the 14 year-old Bernadette saw a vision of “a beautiful lady” standing
in a niche in the rock, asking her to pray and do penance, and to
return every day for 15 days. As news of her visions spread, people
gathered, and on the 9th day, the lady pointed to the ground and
asked Bernadette to drink from “the fountain” and eat the plants.
Bernadette dug for water in a muddy patch and stuffed her mouth with
grass, to the ridicule of the crowd. But the following day, a spring
appeared, and over time miraculous cures were attributed to its water.
Bernadette later entered a convent and died in 1879.
After her death, her body reportedly remained “incorrupt” (not decomposed).
She was canonized as a saint in 1933 by the Catholic Church.