St Bernadette of Lourdes
On the afternoon of February 11, 1858, the fourteen year old Bernadette Soubirous, her sister Toinette and a friend were gathering ﬁrewood by a mountain stream near Lourdes, a small town in the south east of France. Bernadette noticed a lady dressed in White in a cave nearby, the woman smiled at her and then disappeared. During the following Weeks the lady continued to appear to Bernadette in the Grotto. On the third visit the lady said, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’. In July 1865 Bernadette left Lourdes to enter a convent in the city of Nevers. As a professed sister Bernadette worked in the hospital run by the sisters. As her health began to deteriorate, Bernadette Was given lighter duties in the sacristy. Bernadette was thirty ﬁve years old when she died on April 16, 1879. As a result of Our Lady’s appearances to Bernadette, the Grotto outside Lourdes became famous as a place of pilgrimage and prayer.