Bernadette, Saint

Bernadette, Saint bûrnədĕtˈ [key], 1844–79, French peasant girl who reported seeing the Virgin Mary in apparitions at a grotto near Lourdes, her home, in 1858. She was born Marie Bernarde Soubirous. The authorities, skeptical of her visions, subjected her to severe examinations and abuse. After years of unpleasantness at the hands of the curious, the skeptical, and the powerful, she was allowed to enter the convent of Notre-Dame de Nevers. There Bernadette, her health steadily worsening, spent her last days. She was canonized in 1933. Feast: Apr. 16.

See biographies by L. Cristiani (1965) and A. Stafford (1967).

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