||As the story goes, a 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous was visited by the Virgin Mary 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858. The Virgin told her to drink from a spring, which wasn't at all there. Bernadette dug into the dirt with her hands, and when she did, water rose up. That trickle turned into the Spring at Lourdes. It still flows, and thousands of miracles and healings are said to have happened because of people bathing in, or anointing themselves, with it's water. Seventy "cures" have been verified by the Church as miraculous. The water is packaged and sent all over the world in rosaries, vials and even sold in kitschy plastic Virgin Mary shaped bottles.|
Bernadette joined the Sisters of Charity of Nevers and lived in the convent
until her young death in 1879 or tuberculosis of the bone. She was first
exhumed in September 1909, and her body was found to be preserved (there
were no embalming or special treatments given to her body at the time
of her burial) even though she had been buried in a damp place and the
rosary which she held had rusted. Her body was washed and reclothed before
burial in a new double casket. She was again exhumed in April 1919, and
was found to still be preserved except for a slight discoloration her
face which was said to have resulted from her body being washed in 1909.
The body was proclaimed "incorruptible" and never reburied;
a light wax covering was made for her face and hands, It remains on display
in the Chapel of the Convent of St. Gildard at Nevers. The Catholic Church
recognizes this as a sign of holiness and one of the 'traits' to entitle
someone to Sainthood (along with miracles being attributed to the person)
and Bernadette was made a Saint in 1933.
Someone wrote to me and said if you compare old and newer photos of Bernadette, it seems she has an entire, new nose and her lips are different. I of course told this woman she was a heathen and would be hit by lightening. You can decide for yourself.
At the time of burial, 1879