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Catégories : News from Lourdes
Bernadette Soubirous was born in Lourdes on 7 January 1844 into a family of millers. She was the eldest daughter of François Soubirous and Louise Castérot. Bernadette had a sister: Marie Antoinette and three brothers: Jean-Marie, Justin and Bernard-Pierre. Four other children died in infancy.
During the first years of Bernadette's life, her family lived easily. But little by little, health problems began to accumulate in the family. Gradually, her parents lost the water mills they owned and to support themselves, Louise and François Soubirous became brewers.
10 years after Bernadette's birth, her parents had to leave the Boly mill with their 4 children. No longer having the financial means, they often changed homes, each time moving to a smaller and less expensive place. They were then housed without financial compensation in the former prison of Lourdes in a small dark room called the Cachot.
For the Soubirous family, this was the accumulation of poverty and misery. Bernadette's health was poor, she had a stomach ache and had caught the cholera epidemic. She was one of the children who could not read or write. She was partially educated in a class run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.
It was then that the Apparitions of the Virgin Mary began...
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous, aged 14, left the Cachot with her sister Marie Antoinette and a friend to fetch wood at Massabielle.
It was then that Bernadette saw a lady dressed in white in the hollow of the rock, who said to her "Would you do me the grace of coming here for a fortnight? The Virgin Mary came to meet her 18 times between Thursday 11 February and Friday 16 July 1858.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth apparition, she said to him "Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come here on pilgrimage".
In the fifteenth apparition, the Virgin Mary asked him to go and drink from the fountain and wash himself. She did not reveal her name until the 16th apparition, "I am the Immaculate Conception".
After the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, Abbé Peyramale offered a house to Bernadette's parents. This marked the end of the troubles for the Soubirous family.
Today, the 4th generation of Bernadette's descendants still own the house offered by Abbé Peyramale : the furniture, the rooms, the photos, the objects, everything has remained as it was in the Soubirous family's time. You can also see the family tree of the Soubirous family as well as a baptismal dress embroidered by Bernadette herself, which was used for all the baptisms of the family's children.
Since 1858, the Maison Paternelle, known as the "Moulin Lacadé", has been an essential place for pilgrims coming to Lourdes.