St. Bernadette is one of my favorite saints. Her faith is so inspiring. She didn’t question the miracle being offered to her — when Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to her in a cave, as the Church celebrates Feb. 11.
As St. Bernadette said, "Oh, my Mother, to you I sacrifice all other attachments so that my heart may belong entirely to you and to my Jesus."
Her witness is captured beautifully in The Song of Bernadette, such a classic for this time of year. The poster art for the movie was done by Norman Rockwell. Watching the movie, I always pray that one day I will be able to visit Lourdes.
Closer to home, there is a special adoration chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.
St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Rockford, Ill., has a small chapel — Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel — where the faithful can pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
The chapel reminds me of a European one, perhaps in the Alps. Only a handful of pews dot the small, prayerful space.
An image of Divine Mercy next to the tabernacle reminds those in silent contemplation whom to seek above. So does the lovely stained-glass window of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette.
When I visited, a few elderly people sat quietly, deep in prayer. It was easy to be immersed in prayer in such an environment, and I found myself praying for so many special intentions dear to my heart.
Only the sound of an ambulance siren broke the silence, a reminder of the hospital across the street.
The blessing of prayer wherever one is — whether in the Midwest or France — is a blessing, particularly before Jesus. We remember what our true hope and purpose is.
"I shall spend every moment loving," St. Bernadette wrote. "One who loves does not notice her trials; or, perhaps more accurately, she is able to love them."
"I shall do everything for heaven, my true home," she also said. "There, I shall find my Mother in all the splendor of her glory. I shall delight with her in the joy of Jesus himself in perfect safety."
So, whether you go to the shrine in Europe or a church named for Our Lady or Bernadette here in America, be inspired by her witness in your own faith journey.
St. Bernadette’s website has inspiring quotes on the page dedicated to the chapel, including one from Pope John Paul II: "Is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic Communion?"
Beautiful question by the Pope who loved Our Lady so much.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
Amy Smith is the
Register’s associate editor.
St. Bernadette Catholic Church
Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel
2400 Bell Ave.
Rockford, IL 61103