The Bernadette Year has begun

Published on 17 January 2019 - 09:21

The year 2019 celebrates the 175th anniversary of the birth of Bernadette Soubirous and the 140th anniversary of her death. These events are an opportunity to deepen our understanding of her life’s example and to listen to her spiritual testament. Throughout the year, many initiatives are being taken to help us in this regard.

Little Bernadette, who was privy to the secrets of the Virgin Mary 18 times during the Apparitions of Lourdes in 1858, became holy not because she was favoured by Mary’s visits, but for the way in which she answered them. She calls us to follow her on this path…

Saint Bernadette honoured throughout the year.

The relics of Saint Bernadette will be on display. There will be a special time for veneration twice a week, after the international mass, on Wednesdays and Sundays. In addition, Bernadette’s reliquary will continue its travels in Europe with new stopovers in France, Italy and Spain.

The path of Bernadette that leads to the nearby village of Bartrès (the village where she lived before the Apparitions and where she looked after the sheep) will be made more accessible.

The church of Saint Bernadette, inaugurated in 1988, needs complete renovation: the work will consist in particular of creating a more modular space in the church. Where previously the church could be divided into two separate spaces, the new design will allow for a number of different arrangements which can cater for a few hundred or for several thousands of pilgrims.

An annual calendar (see below) highlights the important dates in Bernadette’s life, allowing pilgrims to obtain the indulgence bestowed this year.

A new liturgy, “From the mud flows the spring”, evokes the discovery of the spring by Bernadette and which also symbolises her journey, from the misery of the Cachot to the maternal grace of the Virgin Mary.

A approach to pilgrimage offered over the course of two days for a better understanding of the life and spirituality of Bernadette (accompanied visits, conferences, sacraments, processions …).

In addition, the Sanctuary of Lourdes is associated with two wonderful cultural projects that highlight the life and the message of the little girl from Lourdes who became a saint:

The musical “Bernadette of Lourdes”, in residence in Lourdes for several months. A magnificent saga that combines the talent of its creators (music by Grégoire, direction by Serge Denoncourt, lyrics by Lionel Florence and Patrice Guirao) with incredible historical accuracy to offer an unprecedented encounter with the message of Lourdes.

In May, national cinema release of the film “Lourdes”, directed by Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai. This documentary aims to give the starring role to the sick and vulnerable pilgrims, to try to understand why, like Bernadette, “they are attracted to the Grotto”.

Burn a cierge

In this year Bernadette, entrust your intentions, make burn a candle at the dates of the 18 apparitions:

The calendar of the 18 apparitions of Lourdes (1858)

Two wordless apparitions

1- 11th February 1858: “A noise like a gust of wind …” A lady dressed in white, with a rosary, appears to Bernadette in the cave of Massabielle, around noon.

2- 14th February: Bernadette returns to the grotto, before Sunday vespers. The lady smiles at her when she throws holy water at her.

The fortnight of apparitions

3- 18th February, at 6 o’clock in the morning: Bernadette came with writing implements. The lady speaks.
“What I have to say to you, it is not necessary to put it in writing, but would you do me the honour of coming here for a fortnight.”
The Lady adds these words for Bernadette, “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.”

4 to 6- From 19th – 22nd February, Bernadette goes to the grotto every morning and recites her rosary. She sees the Lady every day except Monday, 22nd February. All these apparitions are wordless.

7- 23rd February: This morning, it seems that the Lady teaches Bernadette a secret prayer, which she will recite every day.

8- 24th February: The Lady entrusts Bernadette with her message of penance and prayer:
“Penance! Penance! Penance! “
“Pray to God for the conversion of sinners.”
“Go and kiss the earth as penance for sinners. /”

9- 25th February: Following the Lady’s instructions, Bernadette uncovers whereabouts of the spring:
“You will eat the grass that is there … Go drink at the spring and wash yourself there.”

10 and 11- 27th-28th February: ​​The same words and gestures as on 24th February. There was no apparition on Friday 26th February.

12- 1st March: Before the end of the fortnight, the Lady confides three secrets to Bernadette, with this express instructio, “I forbid you to tell these to anyone.”

13- 2nd March: The Lady gives Bernadette a specific mission to, “Go and tell the priests that people should come here in procession and to build a chapel. “

14- 3rd March: The Lady, absent at the usual time, appears to Bernadette late morning. She renews her request for a chapel.

15- 4th March: A wordless apparition. There are 8000 people in front of the grotto.

The last three apparitions

16- 25th March, the feast of the Annunciation: the Lady reveals her name to Bernadette:
“I am the Immaculate Conception”

17- 7th April: Wordless apparition, marked for Bernadette by the miracle of the candle.

18- 16th July, at dusk: beyond the barriers of the Grotto and the Gave, the Virgin Mary is, “more beautiful than ever”.


4 catechises

The collection of catechises launched by Father André Cabes, Rector, in 2017, has been augmented this year with 4 new publications, to help us experience the message of Lourdes in 2019, the Bernadette Year.

During 2019, the Sanctuary of Lourdes is encouraging pilgrims to follow in the footsteps of Bernadette. We are, after all, in a jubilee year. Bernadette was born on 7th January 1844, and was baptised on 9th, 175 years ago. She died on 16th April 1879, just 140 years ago.

Beginning with showing us how to make a beautiful sign of the Cross, Bernadette’s meeting with the Lady of Massabielle will teach us the secret of the joy of believing. Thus, we will experience life in the Church. Bernadette had to ask the priests to build a chapel, to start processions. A new humanity, a people of the destitute and poor, leads to the family home that is the Sanctuary of Lourdes. Yes, blessed are the poor, they rejoice in the happiness of Jesus, they live in the happiness of God!

This is the path that we are encouraging people to follow in these catechises, our journey with Bernadette, the way of the Gospel and of true life.

Events and news 2019

  • 8-11th February: The ” Lourdes February Days”: conference and celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  • 15-17th February: Pilgrimage for couples for Valentine’s Day.

  • February 18-22nd: Conferences on St. Bernadette.

  • May 30th: Pilgrimage for those baptised and divorced.

  • June 28-30th: Pilgrimage for fathers.

  • 7-9th August: “Open Source” Marian Gathering for Young Adults.

  • 22nd August: Feast of the Family of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  • 12-13th October: Pilgrimage for mothers and 1st year of the pilgrimage for chefs.