The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Saint Bernadette of Lourdes

Saint Bernadette of Lourdes

In 1858 a young peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, had a series of visions of ‘a Lady’ in the foothills of the Pyrenees. During one of her eighteen visitations, the apparition identified herself as ‘the Immaculate Conception’, at the time a relatively obscure bit of dogma that had only recently been promulgated in Rome. Despite initial scepticism, the Roman Catholic Church eventually declared the cult that grew up around Lourdes worthy of belief, and today the shrine is a major centre of pilgrimage.

Following her visions, Bernadette subsequently entered a convent, taking the name Sister Marie-Bernard. She died there on 16 April 1879, at the age of 35. She was canonized in 1933.

Photographed by Billard-Perrin & Cie. of Pau on the northern edge of the Pyrenees.


Code: 123199
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© Paul Frecker 2019