Patron Saint of Bodily Ills and Orphans
Bernadette was born in France and into a modest family that eventually fell into extreme poverty. As a child, she suffered many health problems such as digestive problems, cholera, and asthma. The cholera almost took her life but when Monsignor Forcade asked the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Never to take her in, she replied: “Monsignor, she will be a pillar of the infirmary.”
In 1858 Bernadette was sent to gather firewood with her younger sister. While in the woods, a Lady appeared before Bernadette. The Lady was dressed in blue and while, smiled down upon her and made the sign of the cross with a rosary made of ivory and gold. Bernadette took out her rosary and started to pray. The Lady was God’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was not the only time the Virgin Mary came to her; she appeared seventeen other times. One day the Virgin Mary told Bernadette to dig in the mud and when she did a spring of water began to flow. When people started to use this water, miracles started to happen.
As she turned older she again was plagued by even more illnesses. At the age of eleven her suffering increased due to a tumor on her knee and tuberculosis of the lung. Even with all her suffering, in her adult years, Bernadette became a nun. With all she had to go through, she was still a very humble person who did not want any praise. A nun once asked her why she did not feel prideful because of her favoritism from the Virgin Mary. Her response was “How can I? The Blessed Virgin chose me only because I was the most ignorant.”
April 16, 1879 Bernadette pain intensified and could not breathe properly. Later in the afternoon she passed away. She was buried in the chapel of Saint Joseph.
She brings comfort, hope, love and reassurance to the ill and to orphans with her beautiful story. Let us know if this is a saint you would like to carry close to your heart on one of our pendants.