Published : 02/10/2021 13:40:43
Categories : News
This last year, spent fighting the coronavirus pandemic, brings constant attention back to the theme of the sick and faith. The message of hope entrusted by Mary to the young Bernadette Soubirous during the First Apparition on 11 February 1858 in the grotto of Messabielle, in the French Pyrenees, seems to be more alive today than ever before.
Few people really know his story, but in the course of the apparitions, Mary reveals to Bernadette the greatness of merciful Love. Despite her misery, her illness, her lack of culture, Bernadette was always profoundly happy. No-one is too far from God and his mercy and Mary's "message to Bernadette is the same as the Gospel, the Good News of a love that forgives and lifts up, that restores life and confidence" (p. 8). In fact, Bernadette herself would remember: "She also told me that she would not promise me happiness in this world but in the next".
François Vayne wrote about the spirituality and life of St Bernadette Soubirous in "Vedere l'invisibile. La vita e la spiritualità di S. Bernadette Soubirous". This text was published in 2020, in our Inspirations series, with a preface by Mgr Antoine Hérouard, Bishop and Apostolic Delegate for the Sanctuary of Lourdes.
The journalist François Vayne, who now lives and works in Rome as director of communications for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, spent 26 years in the French town of Lourdes (1987-2013) where he was director of the "Lourdes Magazine" and of communications for the International Sanctuary. His profound knowledge of Bernadette, of the story and the content of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858 is contained in these pages, which were created with the aim of allowing the reader to enter into their profound meaning.
Monsignor Antoine Hérouard writes in the Preface: "in the pedagogical and chronological articulation of the chapters, the text is not intended to be merely the account of a life, of an event out of the ordinary and its consequences, but as readers, it puts us directly in touch with the life of the Saint: how does what Bernadette experienced question us in our journey of faith? To illuminate this quest, the author introduces many quotations from Pope Francis addressed to young people in his exhortation "Christus vivit", a sort of invitation to look to Bernadette's example for the elements to answer our questions today about the journey of faith or vocation" (p. 8-9).