Oh Yes, I Saw Her! – Our Lady Of Lourdes – Saint Bernadette Soubirous
It tells of the later life of St.Bernadette in the convent of St.Gildard in Nevers, France.
Bernadette Soubirous (Occitan: Bernadeta Sobirós; 7 January 1844 – 16 April 1879) was the firstborn daughter of a miller from Lourdes (Lorda in Occitan), France, and is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church.
Soubirous is best known for the Marian apparitions of a “young lady” who asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby garbage dump of the cave-grotto at Massabielle where apparitions are said to have occurred between 11 February and 16 July 1858. She would later receive recognition when the lady who appeared to her identified herself as the Immaculate Conception.
Despite initial skepticism from the Catholic Church, Soubirous’s claims were eventually declared “worthy of belief” after a canonical investigation, and the Marian apparition is now known as Our Lady of Lourdes. Since her death, Soubirous’s body has apparently remained internally incorrupt, but it is not without blemish; during her third exhumation in 1925, the firm of Pierre Imans made light wax coverings for her face and her hands due to the discoloration that her skin had undergone. These masks were placed on her face and hands before she was moved to her crystal reliquary in June 1925. The Marian shrine at Lourdes (Midi-Pyrénées, France) went on to become a major pilgrimage site, attracting over five million pilgrims of all denominations each year.
On 8 December 1933, Pope Pius XI declared Bernadette Soubirous a Saint of the Catholic Church. Her feast-day was initially fixed for 18 February—the day her Lady promised to make her happy, not in this life, but in the next—but is now observed in most places on the date of her death, 16 April.
In the Catholic Church, Mary is accorded the title “Blessed” (Latin: beata, Greek: μακάρια, translit. makaria) in recognition of her assumption to Heaven and her capacity to intercede on behalf of those who pray to her. There is a difference between the usage of the term “blessed” as pertaining to Mary and its usage as pertaining to a beatified person. “Blessed” as a Marian title refers to her exalted state as being the greatest among the saints; for a person who has been declared beatified, on the other hand, “blessed” simply indicates that they may be venerated despite not being officially canonized. Catholic teachings make clear that Mary is not considered divine and prayers to her are not answered by her, but rather by God through her intercession. The four Catholic dogmas regarding Mary are: her status as Theotokos, or Mother of God; her perpetual virginity; her Immaculate Conception; and her bodily Assumption into heaven.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus has a more central role in Roman Catholic teachings and beliefs than in any other major Christian group. Not only do Roman Catholics have more theological doctrines and teachings that relate to Mary, but they have more festivals, prayers, devotional, and venerative practices than any other group. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.”
For centuries, Catholics have performed acts of consecration and entrustment to Mary at personal, societal and regional levels. These acts may be directed to the Virgin herself, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Immaculate Conception. In Catholic teachings, consecration to Mary does not diminish or substitute the love of God, but enhances it, for all consecration is ultimately made to God.
Following the growth of Marian devotions in the 16th century, Catholic saints wrote books such as Glories of Mary and True Devotion to Mary that emphasized Marian veneration and taught that “the path to Jesus is through Mary”. Marian devotions are at times linked to Christocentric devotions (e.g. the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary).
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.29 billion members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. Headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, the church’s doctrines are summarised in the Nicene Creed. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, Italy.
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