PARIS. Synonymous with gaiety, good food for gastronomes, gorgeous gowns, delectable wine, all the good things of life, is unrivaled, appealing Paris. The early morning mists on the Seine, the lazy-plying barges, the ever-patient fishermen, the spellbinding orators in the Chamber of Deputies, the gaunt, leafless trees along the quays in the fall, the flowering horse-chestnut trees in the spring, the breath-taking vistas from the bridges, the ageless, awe-inspiring beauty of the churches, the avid poets and painters, all this and much, much more is Paris. For centuries generation after generation of people from all over the world have gravitated to her narrow alleys and wide boulevards, for Paris “is not just a city, she is a world.” To women, she is the undisputed center of high fashion, the acknowledged authority on what well-dressed beauties everywhere should wear. As style leader, the showings of top Paris dress designers draw all the editors, manufacturers and buyers of the fashion world, while their collections continually attract wealthy shoppers and less-wealthy window-shoppers. The noted Rue de la Paix is identical with Parisian- elegance, an air every woman openly or secretly strives to exude. Not only the epitome of glamour, this fabulous capital has been a focal point of culture, too. In Paris, history, poetry and art sit on every doorstep, set the backdrop for everyday living, and great painters, musicians and writers have all been caught in the seductive web she weaves. The left bank of the Seine, lined by the famous open-air book stalls, is the intellectual and governmental section. Here is the Sorbonne, center of the University of Paris, perhaps the most influential and greatest school of liberal arts in Europe; the classical Church of Saint-Sulpice, with famous paintings by Delacroix, and noteworthy Saint-Germain-de-Pres, oldest church in Paris, dating from the eleventh century. The gallery of nearby Ecole des Beaux Arts, scene of the annual wild Art Students’ Ball, displays works of Fragonard, David and Ingres. Radiating from the university is the Latin Quarter, second oldest and one of the most picturesque sections in the city. For centuries these streets around Boulevard Saint-Michel have been the haunt of university students and teachers. Also in this area are the Cluny Museum, one of the fine medieval buildings still standing in Paris, housing a rare collection of medieval arts and crafts, and the Luxembourg Palace and Museum, surrounded by its beautiful gardens, housing contemporary painting and sculpture.
You love Mexico’s rich textures and colors, so you’re looking for one-of-a-kind items to decorate your home and dress up your persona! style-all while getting some serious R&R in the sun. Start out in Mexico City and then travel east for Puebla’s baroque architecture and magical, old-world feel. Among this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s churches and squares, the ornate 16th century Cathedral points heavenward. Head to the city’s traditional markets to browse for Talavera pottery, el arbol de la vida (“the tree of life”) figurines, and onyx and marble sculptures. Roam south to Oaxaca City for its Historic Centre, which is another impressive World Heritage Site. Must-see highlights include: the Cathedral, the basilica of Our Lady of Solitude, and the Macedonio Alcala Theater. Along the main plaza, you’ll find artisans from around the Oaxaca state selling colorful alebrijes (folk-art sculptures of fanciful animals), beautiful black pottery, and geometric woven wool rugs. Arrive in Nuatulco on the Pacific Coast for relaxed beaches, as well as shops and galleries selling vibrant regional crafts.
A gem of High Gothic architecture
In the centre of the Ile-de-la-Cite
The Palais de la Cite was the residence and seat of royal power from the 10th to the 14th centuries in Paris, and housed the Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle which are now part of the Palace of justice, the new function of the building. I The Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248, in accordance with the wishes of Louis IX (king from 1226 to 1270 and the future Saint Louis) to house the relics of the Passion of Christ. The most famous of these relics was the Crown of Thorns, acquired in 1239 for a sum that greatly exceeded the cost of building the Chapel itself.
Religious and political influence
The Holy Relics had belonged to the emperors of Constantinople since the 4thcentury. In purchasing them, Louis IX added to the prestige of both France and Paris which, in the eyes of medieval Europe, became a “New Jerusalem”, and hence the second capital of Christianity. Throughout the revolutionary period, the Sainte-Chapelle, which was a symbol of royalty by divine right, suffered a great deal of damage, although the stained glass windows remained intact. From 1846 onwards, a huge wave of restoration work was carried out on the building, giving it its current appearance.
The seat of royal power
In the 1st century BC, the Parisii, a Gallic tribe, settled on an island in the middle of the River Seine, later known as the I1e-de-la-Cite, and founded the town of Lutetia, which in the 5th century took the name of Paris. In the 6th century Clovis, the first French King, made the Palais de la Cite his royal residence. His son Childebert had Paris’s first cathedral built.
At the end of the l Oth century, Nugues Caper, the first Capetian king, established his royal council and government in the palace, which thus became the seat of royal power.
A palace deserted by its kings
In 1248, when Louis IX signed the deed founding the Sainte-Chapelle, the nearby Cathedral of Notre-Dame already had its current facade. In 1358, the advisors to King john II (The Good) were assassinated before the eyes of the Dauphin, the future Charles V, who once he became king decided to move to better protected premises, firstly the Hotel Saint-Pol, one of his Paris residences (no longer standing), then to the Louvre and Vincennes. The royal government, Parliament, Chancery and the Chamber of Accounts remained in the Capetian palace for a while, but as the centuries passed only the law courts and prison stayed on.
Nowadays, the Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie are the only visible remains of the oldest palace of the kings of France.
Two sanctuaries, one on top of the other
From the beginning, the relics were displayed and worshipped in the upper chapel. Only the king, his close friends and family, and the canons leading the services entered it via the outdoor terrace, which at the time was connected to the Palace. The lower chapel was the place of worship for the palace staff.
The basilica-type layout with a semi-circular apse was very simple. It was to be used as a model for other Holy Chapels, including those of Vincennes and Chateaudun.
The lower chapel
Visitors are greeted by a statue of the Virgin Mary, the sanctuary’s patron saint, at the portal. Inside, the polychrome decoration, like the carved decoration in the porch, dates back to the 19thcentury restoration work. In the apse on the left, above the door to the former sacristy, is a 13thcentury fresco depicting the Annunciation. This is the oldest wall painting in Paris.
The low vault is held up by openwork struts linking the aisle columns to the lateral walls. These walls are decorated with blind trefoil arcatures and 12 medallions featuring the apostles. The vaults’ fleur-de-lvson an azure background are also found on the columns, alternating with the towers on a purple background which were the arms of Queen Blanche of Castile, Louis IX’s mother.
The Upper Chapel
This is a truly monumental and sumptuously decorated reliquary. Sculptures and windows combine harmoniously to glorify the Passion of Christ and create a feeling of entry into the Heavenly jerusalem, bathed in light and colour. The Sainre-Chapelle owes much of even its early fame to its stained glass windows.
The 1,113 scenes depicted in the 15 stained glass windows tell the story of mankind from Genesis through to Christ’s resurrection. Fourteen of the windows, depicting episodes from the bible, should be read from left to right, from the bottom upwards.
I The window telling the story of the relics of the Passion is the only one to he read houstrophedonicall. In the lower part of the lights, it illustrates the tale of the relics, from their discovery bv Saint Helen in Jerusalem to their arrival in the kingdom of France.
2 The Statue of Saint Peter is the original, as are 5 other apostle statues. He is holding the keys to heaven. The statues of the 12 apostles, the “pillars of the Church” are symbolically arranged in the nave on the ribbed vault’s springing line. Thev typify the harmony and idealised faces of Parisian sculpture in the years between 1240 and 1260.
3 The great shrine containing the 22 relics” of the Passion of Christ, including the fragment of the Holy Cross and the Crown of Thorns, used to be displayed on the gallery but was melted down during the Revolution. The remaining relics are now kept in the treasury of the Cathedral of Notre-Darne de Paris.
4 The western rose illustrates the prophetic Apocalypse of St John, symbolically represented opposite the Passion of Christ in the choir’s central stained glass window. In the centre of the rose, Christ returns in glory at the end of Time to judge the dead and the living.
The 100 foliage-decorated capitals along the lateral walls are all different. The angels on the corner pieces of the arcatures echo the 42 martyr scenes featured in the quatrefoils.
TURKEY IS THE KIND OF DESTINATION YOU FALL INTO, RATHER THAN VISIT IT IS A PLACE OF DAZZLING CULTURAL COMPLEXITY, AT ONCE REMOVED FROM THE PRESENT AND YET ENTIRELY A PART OF IT.
Asojourn here almost overwhelms imagination-from the gran Istanbul to sweeping fig and groves to ancient ruins and such as Troy and Ephesus. Mountainous, coastoral and urbane, Turkey is richly, pervasively by its complicated history. This land reflects t influences of the vast empires that have occupied Istanbul itself remains the city where East me literally straddling two continents-and yet m most arresting features of both, producing a di modern landscape. In Istanbul, tour the holy Byzantine churches, including Hagia Sophia and the blue Mosque. The famed whirling dervishes spin on aturdays and Sundays at the Galata Mevlevihanesi, a ervish hall built in 1491. Then, visit the Grand Bazaar or a day of shopping. The covered bazaar is an endless presentation of handcrafted and idiosyncratic treasres unique to the region, including jewelry and artwork. Turkey, for all of its cultural impact, is also home o impressive beaches. On a peninsula along the Aegean coast, Bodrum is a Mediterranean resort town here yachting is the popular pastime. From here, enjoy a tour on a traditional hand made gulet or while way the morning at Gumbet, a nearby beach.
The consecration of the new western facade and new choir of the abbey church of Saint-Denis in Paris in 1144 had a Europe-wide impact. On the artistic level to begin with since it was there and around the personality of the Abbot Suger that Gothic art took its first steps. On the facade, the first statue-columns, carved from the same block as the column whose form they blend with; inside, at the far western end of the renovated Carolingian nave, the first ambulatory beneath crossed arches offers a uniform space, unified by a remarkable luminosity. But the impact was also political since, given the close ties between Saint-Denis and French royalty, this event also seemed to consecrate a new European political order in which the kingdoms of France and England gained ascendancy over the German and Byzantine Empires.
Whether you have only a few hours or a few days in Lourdes, you can easily organize and follow a pilgrimage program that is appropriate for your length of stay. Follow the Jubilee Way in one of the following formats:
You only have a few hours
Follow the 3’d part of the Jubilee Way from Saint Michael’s gate to the Grotto.
You have half a day
Follow the 2°d and 3’d part of the Jubilee Way (from the Cachot to the Grotto). Take part in the Eucharist Procession of 5.00 pm or at the Evening Marian Torchlight procession at 9.00 pm: they take place daily from 16’° March to 26′h October 2008
You have one day
Follow the four parts of the Jubilee Way. Take part in any one of the processions.
You have two days
You have time to follow the Jubilee Way at your own pace over one or two days, and to take part every day in one of the two processions. You can watch the video on the message of Lourdes in the Information Forum. You can visit the Rosary Basilica and its recently restored mosaics, and the Basilica of Saint Pius X, an audacious building realised in 1958.
You have three days
To the two-day program you can add the International Mass on Wednesdays and Sundays at 9.30 am, call into one of the Pavilions (information offices for various Church movements), the free visit of the Treasure Museum of the Sanctuary.
You have four days
To the three-day programme, you can add two important places in the life of Bernadette (the Boly Mill and Bartres), the visit to the Museum of Saint Bernadette and the exhibition in the castle, or the films of Jean Delannoy, Bernadette and the Passion of Bernadette at the cinema Bernadette, situated close to Saint Joseph’s Gate.
The province of Burgos is situated in the north-east of the community of Castile and Leon and has occupied a privileged place in Spanish history.
Nature has been generous with Burgos, providing it with an extremely varied landscape where we can discover high hills, bleak uplands, fertile meadows and riverbanks and northern green valleys. Several of the most outstanding Burgalese landscapes are protected within the Network of Natural Spaces of Castile and Leon: in the north of the province the karstic complex of Ojo Guareria, the Obarenes Mounts and the Orduna Pass. The Natural Park of the Sierra of Demanda to the East, the canyon of the river Lobos to the south and the Natural space of Yecla near to Santo Domingo de Silos. This natural wealth means that many outdoor sports can be practiced such as skiing, canoeing, climbing, hiking, rafting, horse-riding, etc. Hunting and fishing are especially important in our province.
The Historical-Artistic Heritage is copious and extremely varied: from the site of Atapuerca where the oldest human remains in Europe were found, the different cultures and peoples have left their legacy in the capital and province. We can find prehistoric paintings, Celtiberian forts, the Roman city of Clunia and the town of Banos de Valdearados, the Visigothic hermitage of Quintanilla de las Was and Romanesque art of exceptional quality distributed throughout the province. Gothic art can be seen at its best in the Cathedral of Burgos, but there are also important examples in the capital and province. There are also some outstanding Renaissance and Baroque monuments.
Both legendary and live names in popular tradition are associated with the history of Burgos, such as El Cid Campeador, Count Fernan Gonzalez or the Seven Infantes of Lara. The traditional festivities show the wealth of Burgalese folklore. We can highlight the festivities of “El Colacho” in Castrillo de Murcia; the day of the Penas (clubs) during the patron saint festivities of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Burgos and the festivity of San Juan del Monte in Miranda de Ebro, all of which have been declared of tourist interest.
Apart from the great natural and cultural heritage, Burgos has, over the years, always welcomed and fed the traveler. The accommodation offer is extensive: from modern and comfortable hotels to guest-houses, camping sites and rural accommodations, in order to satisfy the demands of our visitors. Gastronomy is worth a separate mention, two products have the name “Burgos”, black pudding and cheese, but the exquisite lamb, game, meat and vegetable stew (olla podrida), mediaeval lentils, pork products, etc. must also be included. In the many bars and restaurants, the visitor will have the chance to taste these dishes. The excellent wine of Ribera del Duero is the compulsory accompaniment.
Situated between the old Castle and the Arlazon River, Burgos is a city which has known how to preserve its personality.
The marvelous Cathedral, declared Heritage of Humanity, dominates the town with its open-work spires.
The Royal Monastery of Las Huelgas, a Cystercian monastery and pantheon of the kings and queens of Castile, the Cartuja (monastery) of Miraflores with masterpieces by Gil de Siloe and the mediaeval churches of San Lesmes, San Gil, San Nicolas and Santa Agueda, among others, preserve masterpieces of sculpture and Gothic and Renaissance painting.
There are also palaces such as the House of Cordon and the House of Miranda and old pilgrim hospitals, such as “del Rey” or San Juan, which are testimonies of the city’s historical importance on the Road to Santiago.
The Museum of Burgos must be visited in order to discover the heritage of Burgos and its province.
The riverbanks of the Arlazon and the large city parks add the counterpoint to the extensive cultural heritage.
Santillana del Mar is a unique medieval Spain town of stone-paved streets. It is a designated heritage site, and has been one of Cantabria’s best-known cultural and tourist centres for decades.
Since the Middle Ages, Santillana del Mar has been one of the region’s most important towns. It was the capital of the old ‘Asturias de Santillana’, a merindad – medieval jurisdiction – comprising the territory of present-day Cantabria. The human imprint here is far earlier, however, and goes back thousands of years: the world-famous Altamira caves are just two kilometres from the centre of the village.
The town dusters around various well-defined cores. The Plaza de las Arenas square, presided over by the Palacio de Velarde; the Plaza de la Colegiata; the Plaza de Ramon Pelayo, formerly the market square and watched over by the Merino and Don Borja towers and the town hall; and the environs of the Regina Coeli and San Ildefonso convents. Santillana is endowed with an outstanding architectural heritage. Of the religious buildings, the centre-piece is the Colegiata de Santa Juliana, around which the medieval town grew. The first monastery was founded here in the eighth to ninth century and housed the relics of St Juliana -the root of the name ‘Santillana’. Around the twelfth century, the monastery became a collegiate church (colegiata), and from then on the town’s most powerful families vied to enlarge and develop it. Most of the church is fully fledged Romanesque, with Renaissance and Baroque additions.
Among the lay architecture, the standouts are the torres (towers) of Don Borja and Merino or Velarde, both being fifteenth-century; and then the Peredo-Barreda palace, the Villa palace and the Bustamante palace, all built in the eighteenth century. Some of these old manor houses are now home to arts institutions like the Diocesan Museum, the museum dedicated to the sculptor Jesus Otero, the Fundacion Santillana, an arts centre sponsored by Caja Cantabria, and the Casas del Aguilay la Parra, which are nosv exhibition centres. The town’s powerful attraction isn’t just its landmark buildings, though. It’s the place as a whole, with all its more modest buildings-all of them are period architecture. Santillana’s wonderful townscape takes you back to times gone by.
Besides the architecture, there is a wealth of things to see and do at the town’s many temporary exhibitions and arts-centre activities, all the year round. There is also a wide range of available accommodation and hotels for all tastes; establishments tend to be small or medium, and are very often housed in old buildings that contain centuries of history within their walls.
If you leave your car in one of the parking lots signposted on the way into the town, a good place to start your tour of Santillana is the roadcrossing opposite the Regina Coeli convent of cloistered Poor Clare nuns: the building is sixteenth-century and houses a very interesting Diocesan Museum.
Enter the town by the Calle Santo Domingo. On your left you will immediately see the Peredo-Barreda palace (now home to the Caja Cantabria arts centre), and the Casa de los Villa manor house to your right. A little further on, the street forks. To the left, Calle Juan Infante, flanked by small houses bedecked with flowers, opens out into the Plaza Mayor, one of the town’s most characteristic corners. Here are the Casa del Aguila and Casa de la Parra manor houses, in front of which stands a statue of the Altamira bison. Opposite, the Parador Gil Bias hotel occupies an old house that used to belong to the Barreda family. A short distance away is the town hall, with its wide balcony of wrought iron and its decorated arcade. Nearby, as if presiding over the square, is the Torre de Don Borja, now the seat of the Fundacion Santillana, and the Torre del Merino, a ‘house fort’ where the merino mayor of Asturias de Santillana – the highest local authority in medieval times – had his residence. Leaving the square at its left end we carry on along a narrow alley that runs perpendicularly into the junction of Carrera and Canton streets. In the Calle Carrera, to the right, there rises the fifteenthcentury Torre de Velarde. To the right, heading towards the Colegiata church along the Calle Canton, you’ll pass the eighteenth-century Valdivieso palace, now a hotel. On both sides of this street, which is one of the busiest in town, there are a great many typical dwellings, including the house of Leonor de la Vega, a late fifteenth-century noblewoman whose son became the famous Marquis of Santillana. Next to Leonor’s house stands the Casa de los Hombrones (‘the big men’), named after the heavy stone coat of arms of the Villa family. The street from here on takes the name Calle de! Rio, and goes down to a picturesque water trough, to the right of which are the late seventeenth-century manor houses of the Cossio and Quevedo families, with the Casa de los Abades opposite; the space is closed off by the beautiful Romanesque Colegiata de Santa Juliana (collegiate church). A visit to the church and its cloister is a highpoint of this walk. Finally, after the Colegiata you will find the Plaza de las Arenas, the most notable building being Velarde palace.
A visit to Santillana del Mar should start or finish with the Altamira Museum, next to the original Altamira cave. Just two kilometres away from the town centre, Altamira is one of the finest European examples of Upper Palaeolithic art.
Finally, Santillana boasts a small but prestigious zoo with a very wide range of wildlife. Its standout section is its ‘quaternary park’ of species that were widespread in Cantabria in the times of the Altamira settlers: bears, horses, bison, reindeer, wolves, capercaillie, lynx, and more.
San Sebastian de Garabandal, situated in one of the most remote corners of Cantabria Spain, is a place of wonder. Here we present the first ever GPS mapping of the significant sites in San Sebastian de Garabandal:
Parish Church: N43.20142 W4.42403
Site of the Miracle of the Host: N43.20069 W4.42257
Conchita Gonzalez’ childhood home: N43.20047 W4.42251
Ancient Fountain: N43.20038 W4.42245
Start of the Path to the Pines: N43.20020 W4.42383
Site of 1st apparition of St. Michael the Archangel: N43.20006 W4.42381
Site of 1st apparition of the Virgin Mary at Garabandal: N43.19981 W4.42396
Rock of St. Michael the Archangel: N43.19928 W4.42442
The Pines: N43.19842 W4.42440
This is a small village in northern Spain, in the Santander province, its full name is San Sebastian of Garabandal. No more than 300 people live in Garabandal. The town is impressively quiet. There is no doctor in the town and no resident pastor at the parish church. The pastor from Cosio used to celebrate Mass there on Sunday.
In the evening of June 18, 1961, four girls were playing on the outskirts of the town – Conchita Gonzalez, Maria Dolores (Mariloli) Mazon, Jacinta Gonzalez and Maria Cruz Gonzalez – not related despite having the same name. Maria Cruz was eleven, the others twelve, and all were from poor families.
Suddenly they heard a loud noise, like thunder, and saw before them the bright figure of the Archangel Michael. On the following days the Archangel appeared to them again in the same place. He announced that on July 2 they would see Our Lady. This was the beginning of the Garabandal events.
OUR LADY OF CARMEL
The news spread quickly through the region. July 2 was a Sunday and the town was crowded. At six in the evening the girls went to the place where the Angel had appeared, and to the surprise of the crowd they entered into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to them accompanied by two angels, one being St. Michael. The girls described the vision as follows:
“She is dressed in a white robe with a blue mantle and a crown of golden stars. Her hands are slender. There is a brown scapular on her right arm, except when she carried the Child Jesus in her arms. Her hair, deep nut-brown, is parted in the centre. Her face is long, with a fine nose. Her mouth is very pretty with lips a bit thin. She looks like a girl of eighteen. She is rather tall. There is no voice like hers. No woman is just like her, either in the voice or the face or anything else.” Our Lady Manifested herself as Our Lady of Carmel.
At times the wind rustled her long hair which reached down to her waist. The girls spoke with the Virgin with the utmost naturalness. “We were telling her, “they said, “about our tasks, how we were going to the meadows…” and “She smiled at the little things we told her.” Our Lady showed them how to treat her: “Like children who speak with their mother and tell her everything… Children who rejoice to see her when they have not seen her for a while.”
After this first apparition there were many more. During 1961 and 1962 Our Lady appeared several times each week. The four girls did not always receive the apparition together. Sometimes only one, other times two or three of them saw the vision. Nor was it always at the same hour of the day. Our Lady appeared many times at night and even early in the morning, in an attitude of sacrifice and penance, at the same hours when Our Lord is most offended by the sins of men. Even so, the girls would arise the following morning, as early as usual, to work in the fields, carrying bundles of grass or wood, or tending the cattle and sheep, without showing signs of fatigue.
Saint Bernadette’s body reposes in a glass casket in the Chapel of the Sisters in Nevers, France. Travel between Lourdes and Nevers has never been rapid however, and in 1866 Bernadette took three days to make the journey, passing via Bordeaux and Perigueux.
The Sisters were present in Nevers well before Bernadette was born. At the invitation of the Mayor and the Cur6, with the agreement of the Prefect and the bishop, they arrived in Nevers in 1834. The renown of the Congregation reached as far as Lourdes through the gossip of some pious persons.
The Congregation had been founded in 1680 by a Benedictine, Jean-Baptiste Delaveyne, the Cure of a parish in the diocese of Nevers. The Sisters of Charity and Christian instruction of Nevers were devoted principally to children and the sick, and in particular the destitute.
In Lourdes they were therefore called to look after the Hospice and the girls’ school. A special class was opened for the children of families without resources. In was to this class that Bernadette was admitted when she returned from Bartres in January 1858. She could neither read nor write despite her 14 years.
Rumours of the apparitions quickly spread into the school and the Sisters could be no other than severe with this gamine about whom these extraordinary stories abounded.
The day after the second apparition, 15th February, is a Monday: a bad day for schoolchildren! It is worse for Bernadette: the Superior says to her: “Have you finished your playacting!”. It must be said that the next day is “Mardi Gras”. Just like the priests of the parish the Sisters are forbidden to go to the Grotto.
Despite these difficult beginnings, Bernadette will never leave the Sisters of Nevers. She will be accepted as a boarder with a double status: that of pupil and a sick destitute. She was sick enough to receive Extreme Unction, as it was called at that time. Destitute, she wished to remain.
The Cure had insisted that Bernadette should stay at the Hospice to protect her from popular curiosity. This step was only partly successful. The Sisters were now happy to have such an important boarder. All the more so that she retained her disarming simplicity and her gifts manifested themselves much amongst the sick – even the most revolting, as among the children.
What would become of Bernadettc? She was only 14 vears old. She could well be ;een as a Carmelite but her health would not permit it. Various Congregations wcxvld like to have recruited her, but she did not see herself among them. Neither the Chaplain. Abbe Pomian, whom she had confided in from 13″ Februarv 1858, nor the Sisters, exerted any pressure on her.
The decisive meeting took place in September 186s. Mgr Fourcade, bishop of Nevers, on a Visit to Lourdes, wished to meet Bernadette. Would she not consider entering the Congregation of Never? I have no dowry and I don’t know how to do anything. she says. For the dowry, exceptions can be made. So far as knowing nothing: it is not true: I saw you peeling carrots, replied the prelate. Bernadette decided: “I love the poor, I like looking, after the sick. I shall stay with the Sisters of Never ‘s“.
One year later Bernadette was received as a postulant whilst still remaining in Lourdes for another two years. In 1866 ,, she arrived in Nevers with two other postulants. Another year passed and she was professed but her health prevented her from going where she would like to have gone in accordance with the charisma of the Congregation: to the sick, the poor and the children. On that clay the bishop gave her the “work of prayer”.
The Superior and Mistress of Novices were rather severe in their dealings with Bernttdette. It was the practice at the time, and they wished to protect Bernadette against any temptation to vanity; it was a useless exercise given Bernadette’s temperament. The Superior was never convinced of the authenticity of the Apparitions, and after Bernadette’s death she blocked all attempts to open the process of beatification.
For thirteen years Bernadette lived the charisma of the Congregation: Deus caritas est. She was an excellent nurse: competent, smiling, comforting, despite her own ailments, more and more severe. With the agreement of her superiors she also became the confidante and support of the younger Sisters, clarifying their vocations, along with all those who came to visit her.
Bernadette died in Nevers on the Wednesday after Easter, 16th’ April 1879. Her body stayed in Nevers because she had said, under no circumstances would she return to Lourdes to eclipse the Blessed Virgin.