Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bernadette and Suffering

Growing up, Bernadette was often sickly and physically weak due to severe asthma and other maladies, not to mention undernourishment due to poverty. She was able to obtain some relief during those times when her parents sent her to the home of her foster-mother, Marie (Aravant) Laguës, who lived in the country, but Bernadette wanted to come home to Lourdes, especially so that she could make her First Communion. And her health was always worse when she was in Lourdes.

So it was when she went to Massabielle and encountered the Lady she called "Aquéro." The Lady later told Bernadette to dig at a spot in the grotto, and from that spot, a spring of water appeared -- water which later would be used in the miraculous cures of many sick people. But Bernadette was not one of those to be cured. After she entered the convent at Nevers, she was frequently in bed in the infirmary, and she received the Sacrament of Annointing multiple times because she was near death.

In addition to the question of, "Why should the Blessed Virgin appear to one such as Bernadette?" There is also the question of "Why didn't the waters of Lourdes heal Bernadette?"

"O Jesus and Mary, let my entire consolation in this world be to love you and to suffer for sinners."

Actually, it is not entirely the case that Bernadette is not among the miraculously healed of Lourdes. Although her body failed her in this worldly existence, when she was exhumed several years after her death as part of the beatification and canonization process, Bernadette's body was found to be, like her Lady, preserved from corruption.

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