St. Bernadette was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844. Her parents were very poor. Bernadette was frail and often sick.
On Thursday, February 11, 1859, Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood. A beautiful lady appeared to her above a rosebush in the grotto of Massabielle.
The lady was dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette. Then she made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees. She took out her own rosary and began to say it.
The beautiful lady was God's Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette eighteen times and spoke with her. She told Bernadette that she should pray for sinners and do penance. The Lady also told her to have a chapel built there in her honor.
Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision. She had to suffer very much. But one day Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud. As she did, a spring of water began to flow. The next day it continued to grow larger and larger. Many miracles happened when people began to use this water.
When Bernadette was older, she became a sister. She was always very humble. More than anything else, she desired not to be praised. She did not want to receive special treatment just because she had actually seen the Blessed Virgin. Although her own health was poor, she helped care for the sick and elderly sisters. She died in 1879 at the age of thirty-six. Her last words were: "Holy Mary, pray for me, a poor sinner." She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XI on December 8, 1933.
Let us pray for conversion of hearts and minds so that many people will come to know and love God.