Bernadette in Nevers (1866-1879)
The first days
On the evening of 7th July 1866, Bernadette Soubirous, accompanied by the Superior from Lourdes and two other young girls, crossed the threshold of the Mother House in Nevers, known at that time as “St. Gildard.”
On arrival, she would have seen the words “Deus Caritas Est,” engraved in the stone on the front of the house, words which echoed the spirit of the Congregation since its foundation.
The following day, in the presence of 300 Sisters and still wearing her Pyrenean costume, Bernadette told the story of the apparitions for the last time.
Afterwards she began her religious formation.
Her daily life as a Sister of Charity of Nevers
On 30th October 1867, along with 44 novices, Bernadette made her first commitment to religious life. She would have liked to be sent to a community where she could take care of sick and poor people. As her health did not allow it, she remained at the Mother House where she was given the duty of assistant-nurse and the mission of prayer.
During the 13 years spent in Saint Gildard, Bernadettte was successively assistant-nurse, nurse-in-charge of the infirmary, sacristan and very often sick herself. Her life was simple and ordinary. Bernadette had a joyful character and was always available for whatever was required of her. “I want my whole life to be inspired by love.”
She remained in the infirmary for long periods. She suffered greatly from a knee tumour and lung tuberculosis. She died on 16th April 1879, at the age of 35 and was buried in Saint Joseph’s Chapel in the centre of the garden.
On 8th December 1933, she was canonised and declared saint.