About Our Stained Glass Windows
1844 – 1879
Marie Bernadette Soubirous was born at Lourdes in 1844. At fourteen years of age she witnessed eighteen apparitions of our Blessed Lady at Lourdes, instructing her to make known the miraculous healing powers which the Blessed Virgin by her presence, would give to the waters of Lourdes. After the last apparition Bernadette went into the convent and became a nun. Her religious name was Sister Marie Bernard. She died at Nevers at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity on April 16, 1879, in the thirty-sixth year of her age and the twelfth of her religious profession. She was canonized on December 11, 1933.
In the stained glass window Bernadette appears as the fourteen year old peasant girl to whom our Lady came. The candle and rosary in her hands refer to the famous candle-procession of Lourdes, while the flowers and water at her feet represent the miraculous Grotto.
This is Bernadette’s story of the first apparition: “The Thursday before Ash Wednesday it was cold and the weather was threatening. After our dinner my mother told us that there was no more wood. So my sister, Toinette, and friend, Jeanne Abodie, and I went to gather some. In order to get the wood we had to cross a canal. The current was not strong but the water was cold and I was afraid to cross. The others went on without me. I decided to go after them. I had just begun to take off my first stocking when suddenly I heard a great noise like the sound of a storm. I looked to the right, to the left, under the trees of the river, but nothing moved; I thought I was mistaken. I went on taking off my shoes and stockings; then I heard a fresh noise like the first. I was frightened and stood straight up. I lost all power of speech and thought when, turning my head toward the grotto, I saw at one of the openings of the rock a rose-bush, one only, moving as if it were very windy. Almost at the same time there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden-colored cloud; and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful, the like of whom I had never seen, came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening above the rose-bush. She looked at me immediately, smiled and signaled to me to advance, as if she had been my mother. All fear had left me, but I seemed to know no longer where I was. I rubbed my eyes, I shut them, I opened them; but the Lady was still there continuing to smile at me and making me understand that I was not mistaken. Without thinking of what I was doing, I took my rosary in my hands and went on my knees. The Lady made a sign of approval with her head and she took into her hands a rosary which hung on her right arm. When I attempted to begin the rosary and tried to lift my hand to my forehead, my arm remained paralysed, and it was only after the Lady signed herself that I could do the same. When the recitation was finished, the Lady returned to the interior of the rock and the golden cloud disappeared with her”.
Saint Bernadette was given to the world to teach us that love for Mary Immaculate and her Rosary which will make us true sons and daughters of the Queen of Heaven.