Bernadette was a frail and sickly child. She was the eldest child in a large, poor family. In 1858, when she was 14 years of age, she witnessed her first vision of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. She received sixteen more visions over the following months. Since those visions of Our Lady to Bernadette, millions of people have visited Lourdes and hundreds of miracles have been reported by those who drink or are blessed with the holy water of Lourdes.
Pope Pius XI beatified Bernadette of Lourdes on June 14, 1925, and, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, she was canonized and proclaimed a Saint on December 8, 1933. The Feast Day of St Bernadette is the 16th April and the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes is 11th February, which is the date of Bernadette’s first vision of the Virgin Mary. Saint Bernadette is forever remembered for her perseverance in suffering, childlike trust, and humility. Saint Bernadette is the patron saint of illness and poverty, shepherds and shepherdesses and of people who are persecuted or ridiculed for their faith. She is also the patron saint of our school. Her life and commitment to Our Lady inspires us each and every day and pupils from our Chaplaincy Team wrote our school song about her.
These are the words of St Bernadette herself, describing her first vision of Our Lady:
‘I came back towards the grotto and started taking off my stockings.
I had hardly taken off the first stocking when I heard a sound like a gust of wind. Then I turned my head towards the meadow. I saw the trees quite still: I went on taking off my stockings. I heard the same sound again. As I raised my head to look at the grotto, I saw a lady dressed in white, wearing a white dress, a blue girdle and a yellow rose on each foot, the same colour as the chain of her rosary; the beads of the rosary were white….
From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, came a dazzling light.’
Here are just some of the many ways in which we can be inspired by the example of our patron saint, St Bernadette:
We should have COURAGE
We should be OBEDIENT
We should be HUMBLE
We should live a life of PRAYER AND SACRIFICE
We should live a life of FAITH
Let us pray…
Saint Bernadette, God was very pleased with your humble and loving heart. He gave you the special honour of seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary many times during your lifetime.
Thank you for sharing Mary’s message with us: “Pray for yourselves and for people who sin against God. Change your hearts and live as Jesus taught you to. Believe that God loves you!”
Help us to put this message into practice, Saint Bernadette. Remind us to pray the rosary as often as we can. We ask Mary to lead us all closer to her son Jesus so that we can be messengers of God’s love and mercy to everyone we meet.
The relics of St Bernadette toured the UK for the very first time and were at Northampton Cathedral in October. Our Year 5 and 6 choir were asked to provide a special live-streamed liturgy to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event. They read and sang so beautifully. We received a special thank you from Fr Penhalagan: ‘Thanks so much for all you did in preparation for this morning's assembly. People were really blessed by it. Please pass on our thanks to all the pupils who participated. They are really very special’.
St Bernadette School Prayer