Lady of Lourdes

The only fear of the saint who saw Our Lady of Lourdes

There was war and dread all around her, but what she feared was of another nature: “I’m only afraid of bad Catholics”

Saint Bernadette Soubirous is the girl for whom Our Lady appeared in Lourdes . Some time after the apparitions, she entered the religious life, in the convent of Nevers, adopting the name of Sister Marie-Bernard .

In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was heading towards its end, with the defeat of Napoleon III. However, the Prussian soldiers marching through northern France were still a real threat and were a source of terror to the population.

Around 9 December, with the Prussians already on the outskirts of the department of Nièvre, whose capital is Nevers, the knight Gougenot des Mousseaux went to visit the nun in the convent to ask him some questions.

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His questions and the answers of St. Bernadette were recorded for posterity by Count Lafond, who, moreover, does not show great personal appreciation for the religious judging from the comment he writes about her: ” Sister Marie-Bernard … This sister is of no use and yet it is considered the treasure of Saint-Gildard. They look upon it as the bulwark of the episcopal city and attribute it to salvation during the invasion of 1870; the Prussians were in all the neighboring counties and almost at the gates of Nevers . ”

The count continues his account reproducing the interview of Gougenot des Mousseaux to St. Bernadette:

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“Did you receive, in the grotto of Lourdes or later, some revelation concerning the future and destiny of France?” Did the Blessed Virgin leave you no warning or threat of danger to transmit to France?

– No.

“The Prussian soldiers are coming. Do not be afraid?

– No.

“So there’s nothing to fear?”

“I’m only afraid of bad Catholics.”

“Are not you afraid of anything else?”

“No, nothing else.


The image that illustrates this text is a photo of the intact body of St. Bernadette, who, since August 3, 1925, is displayed in a crystal urn in the chapel of the convent of Saint-Gildard in Nevers, France. The city is in Burgundy, 260 kilometers from Paris.

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