Friday, 16 April 2010

The anniversary of St. Bernadette

Bernadette died at three o'clock in the afternoon on the first Wednesday after Easter. Sister Nathalie, a Sister of Charity of Nevers gives this account: "Toward three o'clock in the afternoon she seemed in the grip of inexpressible interior anguish. The sisters in the infirmary were alarmed and fetched holy water which they sprinkled over her while suggesting pious invocations to her. She took hold of her crucifix, contemplated it with love, then slowly kissed Christ's wounds, one by one."

In the hour of Christ's death Bernadette raised her arms in a cross and cried out "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, poor sinner, poor sinner ..."

Bernadette had been told at the grotto many years before that she would not be happy in this world but in the other. She had taken this to heart and she never took it for granted. Her life was one of suffering and giving. Bernadette did not always find life easy but she gave herself completely to her vocation and gave up her beloved Lourdes. Her body remains a visible witness to faith in


Prayer to St. Bernadette

Bernadette, you have long sought the Lord where he called you to.
You asked. You listened. You trusted.
You were sure the Lord would guide you.
You surrendered yourself completely in the hands of God.

Like Mary you are confidant
Inspire in me the same confidence, the same generosity and patience.

Lord, enlighten me on my path
And give me strength to say "yes"
when I hear your call.

Bernadette, you intensely desired the Eucharist,
You had done everything to receive communion
in the Body of Christ,
You loved to adore the Blessed Sacrament,
You united your life living in the offering,
that of Christ at the alter.

Like Mary, the Woman of the Eucharist
Inspire in me the same hunger for the Eucharist, the food,
presence and sacrifice.

Lord, you have given us your Son,
the living and eternal Bread.
That the Eucharist transforms my life to be a
perpetual act of thanksgiving.

Bernadette, you always enjoyed serving others,
On 11th of February, the Virgin appeared to you when you
were fetching wood.
Among sisters, you learned to treat the sick and
residents of the hospice
Later, in Nevers, you were an excellent nurse,
offering an attentive and intelligent in charity.

Like Mary, who saw the family's needs, in Cana.
Inspire in me the same generosity and the same faith
to see that Christ is present in each one

Lord, you have given us brothers and sisters to love.
That our eyes, our hands and our hearts are open
to all those that you put in our way.

Bernadette, your faith has grown in the Church.
The Church, it was your family, your church,
your religious community.
Bravely, you went to tell the priests to hold a procession
and to build a chapel.
Once your mission was accomplished,
you retreated in silence and humility.

Like Mary, in this day of Pentecost and then silence.
Inspire in me the same love of the Church:
I trust that it will support me in my prayer.

Lord, you give everyone a place in your Church.
Let me answer my vocation with the same simplicity
and the same generosity as Bernadette.


(Copyright Service Creation- Sanctuaries Notre-Dame de Lourdes)

This time last year I was fortunate enough to be in Lourdes on this day and little mention was made of Bernadette there. Her humility and recognition that she was simply a courier of messages at Lourdes mean that she is rarely the focus there. This, I think, would have pleased her. She is, of course, of great importance to the place but you often have to seek her out if you really want to understand her. So many people do. For me, for countless millions of others whether Catholic or not Bernadette is a powerhouse of strength, love and faith at its best.

Pray for us St. Bernadette!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!

So, what happened to the girl who used to write this blog? Excellent question! It has been weeks since I have sat down to write a proper post. Well, if you had noticed I was gone, - I'm back. It seems like an appropriate day to stage a return.

It is very easy to get caught up in a series of "busy nothings" in life or, worse still, allow your life to become that series of busy nothings- there have been times recently when I felt like either or both of these were the case. I have been fighting against this fear of "busy nothings" in these weeks of Lent, like so many others, trying to maintain a sense of peace and prayer in my life amidst endless deadlines. It is definitely not always as easy as it seems. However, here we are on Easter Sunday and I feel, looking back I can only now see clearly the graces I have been given in these last six weeks of preparation. Perhaps part of the experience of Lent is battling to find the meaning and truth of all we experience in the weeks leading up to Easter. Things which seemed like mere distraction can give those stolen moments of reflection greater meaning and strength when they do come. When they don't come, perhaps our longing for them has some value too. Lent is that period of "lengthening" of longing for hope and peace and relationship with Him - the Lord we might only catch glimpses of in this life.

Now Easter is here I am overwhelmed, as always, by its beauty and its light. My words are inadequate. But we all know that really trying to understand the mystery is the work of a lifetime. Its good to be back reading posts though, sharing that work with you all. As I watched the Urbi et Orbi today I was struck by that thought, how close we all are in our faith. May we journey onwards together in the midst of our great hope!

I wish you all a most happy and blessed Easter! May the peace of Christ be with you!


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