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Bernadette Soubirous, baptized Marie Bernarde, was the oldest of a family of six, the daughter of a miller, Francis Soubirous and wife, Louise Casterot. They lived in Lourdes, a small town in the French Pyrennes.

Her father came on hard times, and they moved into a former prison. The damp place did not help Bernadette who had severe asthma and delicate health.  Considered slow to learn, she had the simplicity of a dove, was good, patient, and nothing but honest.
St Bernadette - Kneeling (no caption)

On February 11, 1858 walking with her sister and two friends, her companions skipped over stones to cross the River Gave to gather sticks for fuel in the grotto of Massabielle.

Hesitant about wading in the cold water, the asthmatic Bernadette sat on a rock when a sudden gust of wind made her look up.  In the grotto she beheld a luminous lady, dressed in white with a blue sash around her waist, golden roses on her feet and a rosary over her arm.

Report of the vision caused a commotion, and people began to accompany Bernadette to the grotto where, altogether, there were eighteen apparitions in a period of two months.  On March 25  the lady revealed herself as “The Immaculate Conception”, four years after the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  The Virgin’s message was one of prayer and personal conversion and she also asked for a church to be built.

At one of the apparitions Bernadette suddenly began to dig inside the grotto, from whence emerged a fountain that flows abundantly today, which water has worked countless cures, though only 67 are officially recognized by the church and medicine.

St Bernadette - front facing incorruptAfter the apparitions, though her father’s life improved with offers of work, Bernadette’s was continuously harassed by visitors and by ecclesiastical inquiries. 

In 1866 she entered the convent of Notre Dame de Nevers where, despite her delicate health, she served as infirmarian and sacristan. Developing a painful, fatal tuberculosis of the bone, Bernardette suffered patiently until her death at age thirty five on April 16, 1879. She died reaffirming the veracity of her visions.  Lourdes is today one of the most visited and beloved Catholic shrines in the world. Bernadette’s body lies in Nevers miraculously incorrupt.

 


 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 24, 2019

God made Mary so powerful over the devils that not only can...

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September 24

 

God made Mary so powerful over the devils that
not only can she instantly terrify them with a single glance,
but also that the devils prefer
to have their pains redoubled
rather than to see themselves subject to her power.

St. Bridget of Sweden


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Gerard of Csanad

As a spear was thrust into his body he prayed, “Lord, lay...

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St. Gerard of Csanad

Gerard was a Venetian, born in the beginning of the eleventh century. At a young age, he consecrated himself to God and dedicated his life to fighting for Christ. He joined the Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice. Not long after, he began a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was passing through Hungary when King Stephen – the future St. Stephen – asked him to remain and tutor his son. Finding the people of Hungary likewise in need of evangelization, Gerard decided to stay and preach.

On the death of King Stephen, Hungary was thrown into anarchy by competing claims to the throne, and a revolt against Christianity and Gerard ensued. On September 24, 1046, he was attacked and beaten, but still forgave his assailants. As a spear was thrust into his body he prayed, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, they know not what they do.”  His dead body was thrown into a river below.

Gerard and King Stephen were canonized in 1083. St. Gerard is considered one of the patrons of Hungary.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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