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Sunday February 9th. 2014                                                                                          Charity registration No. SC 002876

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Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Tuesday, February 11th

World Day of prayer for the sick

Ann MacKintosh

I ask you to remember in your prayers at Mass and communion this week Ann MacKintosh as she has not been so well over the past few days. Ann has had a prolonged illness which she has borne so cheerfully and with great courage, placing her life totally in the hands of God.

She managed to come to Sunday Mass, even up until a few weeks ago, for Mass is the very core of Ann's spiritual life, but  her condition has changed recently and has affected her strength. However, she has  her Holy Communion most mornings, and this gives Ann the greatest joy to have Our Lord share her sufferings with her. We miss Ann so much in the parish as she was always so active and took care of so many things in the church, especially looking after  the altar linen and helping with the floral arrangements at which she was so skilled.  Kenneth, her nephew, and his wife, Pat,  are here at the moment and have been an immense help in the home and great company for Sandy.

If you have ever been to Lourdes, one of your lasting memories will be of the hundreds of sick who are brought to the grotto each day in wheel chairs by volunteer nurses. It is a very moving sight, for it is seldom you see so many sick and disabled people together. But what is so wonderful is the atmosphere of Lourdes

Irrespective from whatever country people come from, and they come from all over the world,or whatever language they speak, because of our united faith and love for Our Lady, you feel the Church is just one big family, and the sick especially share in everyone’s prayers.

On February 11, 1858, Our Lady appeared to Bernadette in the grotto at Massabielle while her sisters had gone on ahead to gather firewood.

There were 18 appearances in all, the final one being on July 16th. of the same year. Ridicule turned to belief as thousands  thronged the grotto- yet no one but Bernadette had seen the Lady. At the request of her parish priest, she asked the Lady her name, and the reply was: I am the Immaculate Conception. There was no way Bernadette could have known what this meant. After many exhaustive investigations and the living proof of so many miracles, the Church accepted that Our Lady had appeared to Bernadette. Sometime later, Bernadette entered a convent in Nevers, south of Paris, where in the few years that were to remain to, she lived a life of holiness and virtue.  She suffered intensely in her latter days from her girlhood affliction of asthma, and now from tuberculosis of the lung and a tumour on her knee, which caused her excruciating pain,but which she managed to conceal from the sisters in the community. She died peacefully and gently on April 16th, 1879.

Her body remained on view for several days before being placed in a coffin which was sealed in the presence of Civil and Church witnesses. On May 30th., it was transferred from her grave to a vault that had been specially prepared for her coffin in the convent grounds.

Canonisation

A third and final identification of the body was required before she was canonised The ceremony took place on April 18, 1925, forty-six years after Bernadette's death. Present were Church and civil representatives and eminent surgeons. This time a full interior examination of her organs was undertaken. Three years later, in 1928, Doctor Comte published his "Report on the Exhumation of the Blessed Bernadette" in the "Bulletin de I' Association Medicale de Notre­Dame de Lourdes". Below is an excerpt from the report:  

The surgeon was particularly struck by the state of preservation of the liver:


"What struck me during this examination was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles, of the ligaments and of the skin, the suppleness and the tone of the muscles, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon. Bernadette was canonised by Pope Pius XI on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, 1933.

Her shrine at Nevers has attracted millions of pilgrims over the years, for it is a great privilege to gaze on the face of one who is now in heaven, and while she was on this earth had the privilege of seeing and speaking to the Mother of God