France: Is St. Bernadette Soubirous leaving Nevers?

Source: FSSPX News

The body of St. Bernadette Soubirous, resting since August 3, 1925 in a shrine in the chapel of the former convent Saint-Gildard in Nevers, is currently the subject of hot dispute. An association from Lourdes is seeking to repatriate the mortal remains of the saint. Its founder, Jose Marthe, general councillor for 39 years, believes “the moment has come” to return the shepherdess to her Marian city. He founded the Association for the return of Bernadette Soubirous to Lourdes in September 2014, with several descendants of the saint’s family. “It seems quite logical to me that the child of the region, our idol [sic], should return to Lourdes,” he told the AFP on April 30th. M. Marthe believes that “Bernadette was constrained to leave.” His opinion was not shared by the Sisters of Charity, the community Bernadette entered in 1864, aged 20. In a statement, the Superior General Elisabeth de Tonquedec recalled that in 1957, “Pope Pius XII definitively set forth the Church’s position by confirming Bernadette’s location in Nevers.” This was confirmed by the Sanctuary of Lourdes. In daily La Croix, on April 28, 2015, the shrine’s director of communications, Mathias Terrier, stated that “this campaign is futile, quite simply because it does not confirm to the wishes” of the shepherdess, who left Lourdes in 1866 to join the convent of Saint-Gildard in Nevers where she wanted to live hidden and where she died in 1879, at the age of 35.

As for the mayor of Nevers, Denis Thuriot, he denounced the campaign to bring Bernadette back to Lourdes on April 30, 2015. According to AFP, he only sees “the desire to enrich their tourist attractions.”

The shrine that encases the remains of St. Bernadette, located in the center of the ducal city of Nevers, draws over 150,000 pilgrims annually who come to pray near her incorrupt body.

(Sources: – Agence France Presse [AFP] – DICI no. 315 –15/05/15)