Monday, February 11, 2008

"I Am the Immaculate Conception"

Thus the Blessed Mother identified herself to Bernadette Soubirous, less than five years after the Church formally defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; Bernadette had never heard the term before, and did not understand what it meant. Yet this simple, uneducated girl was privileged to receive 18 visits from the Blessed Mother at Lourdes, beginning on February 11, 1858, when she was 14 years old, in an area that had previously served, among other things, as a garbage dump.

lthough Bernadette did not understand the Immaculate Conception -- at least at the time she first heard the phrase -- she did understand that the healing spring she dug at Our Lady's command was, in the end, not for her; plagued by illnesses all her life, she died of tuberculosis of the bone on April 16, 1879 at the age of 35. Her incorrupt body is still on display in Nevers, France.

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