Who is St Bernadette?
St Bernadette Soubirous (St Bernadette of Lourdes)
Occupation: Between the ages of 12 and 14 Bernadette was hired out as a servant, working the lonely job of a shepherdess.
Born: 7th January 1844
Died: 16th April 1879 (aged 35, from tuberculosis)
Best known for: Saint Bernadette of Lourdes was best known as a saint who received visions from the Virgin Mary in a cave near Lourdes. She was canonized as a saint in 1933.
Biography: St Bernadette was also known as Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, she was the firstborn daughter of a miller from Lourdes from the Hautes-Pyrénées in France, and is best known for witnessing apparitions of a "young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby cave at Massabielle.
Early Life: She was the eldest of nine children. Her family lived in extreme poverty in France. Soubirous was a sickly child and possibly due to this was only 4 ft 7 inches tall. She contracted cholera as a toddler and suffered severe asthma for the rest of her life.
Sainthood: On 8 December 1933, Pope Pius XI, declared Soubirous a saint of the Catholic Church. Her feast day, initially specified as 18 February – the day Mary promised to make her happy, not in this life, but in the other – is now observed in most places on the date of her death, the 16th April.