Bernadette's life can be retraced through an itinerary of "Lourdes on foot" which passes by the places where the Saint was born and lived.
Lourdes, the small and holy town that rises in the heart of the Pyrenees, is a place that smells of spirituality and history in every corner. After having left you all the information for "organize a pilgrimage to Lourdes” and having revealed you all “the rituals of the good faithful”, I will now recommend an itinerary ofLourdes on footto follow in the city to discover the places in the life of Saint Bernadette, the young woman to whom the Immaculate Conception appeared for the first time on February 11, 1858.
LOURDES AMONG BERNADETTE'S PLACES
At that timeMaria Bernarde Soubirousshe was only 14 years old and the eldest of seven children of Françoise Soubirous and Louise Castérot. Her life can be retraced, step by step, through a Path that touches the main places of Bernadette and her family. The "Lourdes on foot" itinerary begins where the life of the Saint began.
Boy's Mill (Bernadette's birthplace)
Maria-Bernarde Soubirous was born there on 7 January 1844 and spent the first 10 years of her life there. At that time the family maintained a dignified status and little Bernadette soon became the eldest of 7 children.
After the great crisis that hit France, the Soubirous family fell into disgrace and had to leave the mill. Bernadette, her parents and four brothers were thus forced to live in the cachot of Lourdes, a single room of 16 square meters which was once a prison. Here the little Saint lived for years amidst poverty, illness and illiteracy. It was during this period that the apparitions began.
Grotto of Massabielle
Continuing this historical itinerary of Lourdes on foot, we reach the Grotto of the Apparitions. This is the place where, on 11 February 1858, the Immaculate Conception appeared to Bernadette for the first time in Lourdes. The girl had left the Cachot with her sister and a friend of hers to look for firewood. At the time, the cave was located outside the city. Now it is the centerpiece of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, the floor has been leveled but the vault has been preserved in its original form.
Parish Church of the Sacred Heart
The Church was built in Lourdes after the Apparitions and preserves, inside, the baptismal font at which Bernadette was baptized on 9 January 1844.
The Castle-Fortress of Lourdes rises majestically above the city and represents one of the most beautiful points from which to observe the entire Sanctuary. Its history dates back to the time when the Romans conquered Gaul and, it is said, that the very name of Lourdes can be traced back to this distant legend. After the siege of Charlemagne by an army headed by Mirat, it is said that the latter, in order not to lose his job (Charlemagne was about to abandon the throne) accepted the conversion to Christianity with the name of Lorus. From a fortress, the Castle became the home of counts, a prison and, finally, a museum. Today it houses the "Museum of the Pyrenees", born in 1921 with the aim of creating a vast regional museum in which "nothing that belongs to the Pyrenees should be extraneous to us". [Access to the Castle is subject to a fee: basic rate 7 euros].
Saint Bernadette Museum
Allestito in tempi recenti, esso conserva tracce e “souvenirs” di Bernadette Soubirous e della storia del Messaggio di Lourdes.