Controversy Over St. Bernadette’s Relics Increasing in France

Source: FSSPX News

The Reliquary in Nevers

An association is fighting for St. Bernadette Soubirous’ body to return to the city of Lourdes. In Nevers, both religious and ecclesiastical authorities see things quite differently.


The seer of Lourdes died in 1879. Her miraculously intact remains lie in the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers, where over 180,000 pilgrims come to visit her every year.

An association in Lourdes finds this incongruous and is fighting for the saint’s body to return to the Marian city. “Often, pilgrims ask us where her body is,” explains Martine Vincent, who ran a hotel for thirty years, and is now fighting with José Marthe, a local representative, for Bernadette’s body to lie near the grotto where the apparitions took place.

But for the convent of Nevers, the answer is final: “It is out of the question,” says Mother Elizabeth de Tonquédec, current superior of the Daughters of Charity. She has the support of her bishop, Bishop Thierry Brac de la Perrière, who declares, “There is no reason for Bernadette’s relics to return to Lourdes. She chose to enter into the religious life in Nevers, and she spent thirty years there.”

The Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Bishop Nicolas Brouwet, does not support the demands of the association from Lourdes, and insists reassuringly, “This matter is not an issue."