A new reliquary of Saint Bernadette

Published on 4 June 2019 - 14:07

Since 2017, Bishop Nicolas Brouwet, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, has been offering all dioceses the opportunity to host, for a few days or a few months, the relics of Saint Bernadette. Following the incredible take-up of this offer, and in order not to deprive the pilgrims in Lourdes of the presence of the relics, a new travel reliquary was ordered. The Spanish workshop of liturgical arts Granda (Madrid) was commissioned to carry out the work. This magnificent Neo-Gothic reliquary was inaugurated at the International Mass in the St. Pius X Basilica and was carried in procession to the Grotto on Ascension Thursday, 30th May.

The Granda liturgical arts workshop

The Granda workshop was born from the dream of Don Félix Granda Buylla, priest and Spanish artist. In 1891, perturbed by the destruction of a large number of works of liturgical art, he asked permission from his bishop to found Talleres de Arte Granda for one purpose: to restore the Church’s splendour. His initiative developed very rapidly and, since the beginning of the 20th century, more than a hundred artists and craftsmen have worked at Granda creating altarpieces, statues, tabernacles, and sacred vessels, “impregnated with the fragrance of Christ”, as Don Felix said. Today, 128 years after its creation, Granda has works in five continents and includes in its team architects, goldsmiths, restorers, sculptors, glassmakers and embroiderers, all able to equip Christian places of worship with everything from A to Z. It to this school that we owe a huge debt of gratitude for the new reliquary of Lourdes. The entire team in charge of the project was driven by a single motivation: to give the best of their know-how so that this reliquary might reflect the faith, the humility and the piety of Saint Bernadette.

More informations: http://usagranda.com


Pascale Castillo, the archivist of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, first consulted the chaplains and then entrusted their expectations to the team at Granda, whose desire was to produce an original work, specifically for Lourdes, in the neogothic style which is such a prominent feature of the Rosary Basilica. Its shape reflects the steeples of our churches which, seen and heard from afar, are landmarks for the life of the faithful and passers-by: when Sultan Soliman the magnificent (1495-1566), sultan of the Ottoman Empire, invaded the holy city of Jerusalem, he razed all the steeples so that the voice of God would no longer be heard. The Glorious Cross of Christ and the crown of his Mother, inspired by those at the Sanctuary, prevail at the top of the work. Like its shape, the details of the new reliquary are rich in iconic messages. Its classic and timeless appearance, for example, marked by buttresses, represents the divine force that sustains, protects, unveils and illuminates the interior of man.

Father André Cabes, rector, provided the texts he wished to see appear on the reliquary. So, the following inscriptions feature: Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou (“I am the Immaculate Conception”, words of the Virgin Mary in the Bigourdan dialect when she said her name during the 16th apparition, 25th March 1858), Salus Infirmorum, Health of the sick, Refugium peccatorum, Refuge of sinners (titles which convey Mary’s mission in Lourdes), To love is enough (sentence which summarises Saint Bernadette’s thoughts). In representing Our Lady of Lourdes and an apparition, the artists were inspired by the stained-glass windows of the Immaculate Conception Basilica. The silversmiths have illustrated the internationality of the Sanctuary of Lourdes through the colours of the enamel  which adorns the corner pillars: blue, red, green, yellow.

The new reliquary carried in procession in Lourdes and to the world

Inaugurated on Ascension Thursday, 30th May, during the procession to the Grotto following the International Mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X, this reliquary can also be hosted wherever friends of Lourdes want to pay homage to Our Lady of Lourdes, by reflecting in front of the relics of Saint Bernadette and offering their intentions.

To host the reliquary in your diocese, ask your bishop to write to:  reliques@lourdes-france.com  or Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes – International Pastoral Team- 1 avenue Mgr Théas – 65108 Lourdes Cedex