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Pastor's Column

Sayings of St. Bernadette

Pastor’s Column

3rd Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2021

When I was a deacon, my spiritual advisor talked me into taking a personal, private pilgrimage to the shrines of France. It was quite a challenge since I don’t speak the language. Through the tourist bureau there it was arranged that I should spend a night at the guesthouse at the St. Gildard’s Convent at Nevers, France, where the incorrupt body (housed in a glass tomb in the convent chapel) of St. Bernadette of Lourdes lies. This is the best example of incorruption in the Catholic Church.

In this place Bernadette spent her entire religious life. She had a lively personality and was terribly annoyed by those who wished to make her some kind of living saint, simply because Our Lady chose to appear to her. She had a natural peasant wit about her that was infused with grace. After the church closed for the evening, I had full access, since I was a guest of the convent. I sat, alone, right next to the body of Bernadette herself, reading her diary. To read her own words and look at the body of this saint, who died over 100 years ago (see picture below) makes one feel as if to have met her personally. It was one of the most singular graces of my life.

On the feast of Bernadette, I found my own diary (lost for 16 years) in which I recorded some of the best of what she said. May God speak to you through her as well!

Father Gary

Jabonsbachek, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


“If we had faith, we would feel the divine presence everywhere.”

“For the few years we still have to live in this world, we must do our best to spend our time as well as possible.”

Someone remarked to Bernadette that she seemed to take the trials of life with great patience, and she replied: “As it is Our Lord himself who sends it, I must take it.”

Bernadette was asked to explain how she bore suffering for Christ and she said (this is my personal favorite saying of Bernadette) “Suffering passes, but to have borne suffering – remains.”

Someone remarked to Bernadette: You suffer a lot, don’t you?” She replied, “Well, what do you expect? The Blessed Virgin told me that I would not be happy in this world, but in the next.”

“I would like to know the defects of the saints and what they did to correct these defects. That would help me much more than hearing about their miracles and ecstasies.”

This is some advice Bernadette gave that I often use in confession and in my own life…she said, “The first impulse does not belong to us, but the second does.”

“Oh my God, may your will be done! I accept all sufferings since such is your will.”


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