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Bernadette’s parents lost their mill in Lourdes, France through mismanagement and laziness. When Bernadette was about 14, they could only afford to live in a dank, unhealthy cellar that had once been the town hall. Her sister said that Bernadette was sickly all her life. Not only did she have asthma but she ate very little. The story of her visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, (18 in all) in a grotto known as Massabeille are very well known. Her family wasn’t sure of her story and Sr. Marie Therese Vauzous, her teacher, made fun of her. The police tried to force her to admit that she was lying. Her pastor also rebuked her for causing such a commotion. Our Lady directed Bernadette to uncover a spring in the grotto and the people who bathed in the spring had miraculous cures. People begged her to touch them to cure them and offered money for this but she refused. She entered the convent of Sisters of Charity of Nevers, to get away from this attention. The Mistress of Novices was Sr. Marie Therese, the nun who had mocked her at school and who still thought that she was guilty of trying to fool the world. She took final vows in 1878 and shortly therafter she contracted tuberculosis of the bone which is an incurable and painful disease. To the end of her life Sr. Marie Therese refused to believe that the visions were authentic.
FEAST DAY: April 16
PATRON OF: The chronically ill, especial asthmatics