FEAST DAY: APRIL 16
Every once in a while we are able to catch a vivid glimpse into the mind of God. When this happens, we see that God’s ways are not the world’s ways. The life of St. Bernadette (1844–1879) provides us with a stunning example of this.
Bernadette’s life is hardly the kind of story the world takes note of or celebrates. She was a frail child from an impoverished family in Lourdes, France, and yet St. Bernadette was chosen to receive and to communicate a great treasure to humanity.
On Feb. 11, 1858, God’s mother appeared to her, dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette and made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. She would appear to Bernadette 17 more times, telling her to pray for sinners, to do penance and to have a chapel built in her honor.
Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision and she had to suffer much. However, after Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud, from which a spring began to flow, many came to believe — because miracles happened with this water.
St. Bernadette eventually became a nun but she remained humble and did not want to be praised. The hidden treasure that was the life of St. Bernadette managed to yield the harvest of the Marian shrine at Lourdes, which attracts more than 5 million pilgrims each year. She was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933.