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St. Bernadette
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Religious Figure
    (January 7, 1844-April 16, 1879)
    Born in Lourdes, France
    Birth name is Marie-Bernarde Soubirous
    Allegedly saw an apparition of the Immaculate Conception (Mary) 18 times in a grotto near Lourdes (1858)
    Discovered a spring in the grotto reputed to have great healing properties
    Canonized in 1933
    Body currently on display in the Chapel of Saint Bernadette (Nevers, France)
    Patron saint of the sick and Lourdes
    Her sister and a friend were present when Bernadette first saw the apparition but saw nothing themselves.
    Some of the Lourdes townspeople found her simple-minded.
    The Catholic Church initially dismissed her claims of having seen Mary.
    The apparition did not identify itself as the Immaculate Conception until Bernadette’s 17th visit.
    The Virgin Mary said Bernadette ‘would not find happiness in this world, but only in the next.’
    Her body was exhumed in 1909, 1919 and 1925.
    The third time two ribs were removed as holy relics.
    She grew up poor and illiterate.
    She stuck to her story after hours of strict questioning by church authorities.
    The waters of the spring she discovered have documented healing powers doctors cannot fully explain.
    She learned to read as an adult.
    Although buried in a damp grave, her body was largely intact when dug up thirty years later.
    The ‘incorruptibility’ of her remains is taken by many as proof of her saintliness.
    She was portrayed by Jennifer Jones in the popular film ‘Song of Bernadette’ (1943).
    Millions of Catholics continue to visit the shrine dedicated to the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes every year.

Credit: Georgina

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