St Bernadette icon
On February 11, 1858 in the small town of Lourdes in the mountains of southern France, the Blessed Virgin appeared to 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous, the eldest child of a poor miller. The Holy Virgin appeared at the grotto to Saint Bernadette seventeen more times, with as many as 20,000 people in attendance. The Blessed VirginÕs communications to Saint Bernadette led to the discovery of the healing waters of Lourdes and the construction of a great cathedral. Persecuted by the local authorities, besieged by both the devout and the merely curious who wished to see "the saint" (a title she abhorred), she was forever an embodiment of patience, clarity, and fidelity to the revelations granted to her. After a life of humility and prayer as a nun in the Convent of Saint-Girard, she died a holy death in 1879. Her exhumed body was found to be incorrupt. The patron saint of those ridiculed for their faith, France, and devotion to the Holy Virgin.