I first realized the beauty of Bernadette Soubirous in the film "The Song of Bernadette" in 1943 starring Jennifer Jones and Vincent Price. Already being a huge fan of Price and wanting to know more about the saint led me to sit for 2 1/2 hours to watch the film. I can tell you those 2 1/2 hours seem like 30 minutes as you are immediately lost in the story of this remarkable woman.
Bernadette Soubirous saw the Virgin Mary at a cave in Lourdes, France. Bernadette never tells anyone that it is the Virgin she says specifically "a lady". However, the townspeople of Lourdes assume that a vision of "a lady" must be none other than the Virgin Mary. Regardless of the identity of the "lady" this location, which was previously nothing more than a grotto, became a sacred place whose waters had supernatural healing powers.
It did not take long for Bernadette's name to circulate causing the Catholic Church to distance themselves immediately and for the Lourdes elders to try and have her declared insane. Overall Bernadette had eighteen visions of the "lady" and described her as "wearing a white veil, a blue girdle, a golden rose on each foot and holding a rosary of pearls".
Soon Lourdes became the place of pilgrimage for anyone inflicted with disease or birth defects. Water from the Lourdes grotto left by the jugs-full and Bernadette had dug the spring with her own hands after being instructed by the "lady" to do so. Since that time more than sixty cures have occured and are viewed beyond explanation to the scientic community.
Having always been a sickly person from birth and the attention attracted to her by the Lourdes spring discovery Bernadette opted for the sheltered life taking refuge with the Catholic school and eventually becoming a sister in the Sisters of Charity of Nevers where she remained until her death at age 35. After suffering from cholera and asthma Bernadette suffered greatly from contracting tuberculosis in the bone of her right knee which eventually killed her.
However, even her life story could not compare with her afterlife on Earth. After 30 years since her death she was exhumed to be put into a better coffin, when they opened the casket they found a woman untouched by decomposition and the rosary and crucifix in her hand more decomposed than she. They reburied her in a double coffin and was exhumed again 10 years later only to find that she was still untouched by normal decomposition. Considering her preservation a miracle (which obviously it is) she was enshrined in a gold and crystal reliquary and placed on display at the Chapel of Saint Bernadete. This is where she remains today and pilgrimages are made to her body every year.
Paranormal? Absolutely. Another instance of how Christianity is not far from the paranormal, in fact they walk hand-in-hand.Tags: creepy hollows, preserved body, Saint Bernadette