Saint Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879)
for April 16
Most people recognize Saint Bernadette for the 18 apparitions of Mary she witnessed as an adolescent in Lourdes, France, in 1858. The visions are an important part of her faith story, but she was not canonized for seeing apparitions alone. Bernadette is recognized as a saint because of her prayerfulness and faithfulness to God's will. Bernadette led a humble life, which came under scrutiny after word spread of her visions. Undeterred by others' skepticism and lack of faith, Bernadette followed the instructions Mary gave her to pray for sinners and invite people to the site of the apparitions. Her discovery of a hidden spring of healing water has made the grotto where the apparition occurred a popular pilgrimage site. In her humility, Bernadette avoided any attention, choosing instead to devote her life to further prayer and service, becoming a nun with the Sisters of Notre Dame of Nevers. From her youth and throughout her life, Saint Bernadette was a model of faithful discipleship. (Taken from "Exploring Saints and Feast Days with Young Adolescents.")
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When we study the lives of saints, it is usually their remarkable feats or experiences that stand out to us. But it is important to remember that they are saints not because of one incredible act or a supernatural experience, but because of how they lived minute by minute. Although Saint Bernadette experienced transformative visions, it was her piety and devotion that made her a saint. Even if you never have the chance to accomplish something fantastic or experience a truly wonderful spiritual encounter, you have the ability to become as great a saint as any.
Dear Jesus, please make me a saint.