Some 200 million people, mostly Catholic pilgrims, have visited Lourdes, a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, since Bernadette Soubirou
allegedly met the Virgin Mary while rummaging for bones and dead wood more than 150 years ago.
The Roman Catholic Church will mark tomorrow the Feast of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a popular Christian mystic and visionary, whose visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 paved the way for the worldwide devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous (Wikipedia/ Manila Bulletin)
That year marked both the canonization in Rome of Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) and the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany--a coincidence to which Werfel calls attention in the closing pages of the novel.
This "supernatural grace" was not granted to Israel "on account of natural merit," he argues (202), any more than Mary's appearance to Bernadette Soubirous could be said to have been merited by her.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous
(1844-1879), was only 14 when she encountered the Blessed Virgin Mary in the grotto of Lourdes in the south of France on February 11, 1858, though at the time, she did not know who she was.
When Bernadette Soubirous
was sent out to forage for firewood on a chilly February morning, she noticed something moving in a rocky hollow, or grotto, into which cattle often strayed.As the 14-year-old later recounted, she then saw "a beautiful lady" wearing a white veil and a blue girdle and holding a rosary.Bernadette, illiterate but deeply religious, was immediately convinced that the vision was none other than the Virgin Mary.The year was 1858 and the young girl had ventured out from her family's squalid one-room home in the town of Lourdes, southwestern France.Two companions who were with Bernadette during that first vision said they saw nothing, but like dozens of others who accompanied her on later visits, they were deeply struck by her absorption.
And paralleling the 19th--century's Bernadette Soubirous
of Lourdes, the 1970s Bernadette Brown of Quebec gets harassed by the authorities.
, 800 years later, was a child of poverty.
(real name Bernadette Soubirous
, 1844 - 1879) French peasant girl canonized as a saint on December 8, 1933.
The Roman Catholic Church commemorates today the feast of a popular Christian mystic and visionary, Saint Bernadette Soubirous
, whose vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 paved the way for the worldwide devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.
The beautiful Lady of Lourdes, Bernadette Soubirous
, the hallowed cave on a huge cliff of Massabielle at the foothills of Pyrenees mountain range, which separate France and Spain-these will forever be associated with the celebrated appearances of the Blessed Mother in 1858.