Disliking the attention she was attracting, Bernadette went to the hospice school run by the Sisters of Charity of Nevers where she had learned to read and write. On July 16th she left Lourdes to enter the convent of St. Gildard’s Convent in Nevers, never to return to Lourdes.
Bernadette spent the rest of her brief life in Nevers, working as an assistant in the infirmary and later as a sacristan creating beautiful embroidery for altar cloths and vestments. Her contemporaries admired her humility and spirit of sacrifice. .
She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee.
For several months prior to her death, she was unable to take an active part in convent life. She died at Nevers on April 16th, 1879 at the age of 35.
In the 160 years since Bernadette dug up the spring, The Lourdes Commission that examined Bernadette after the visions ran an intensive analysis on the water and found that, while it had a high mineral content, it contained nothing out of the ordinary that would account for the cures attributed to it. Bernadette said that it was faith and prayer that cured the sick.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is now one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Close to 8 million pilgrims from all over the world visit Lourdes every year to pray and to drink from the spring.
Bernadette Soubirous was declared blessed on June 14th, 1925 by Pope Pius XI.
She was canonized a saint by Pius XI on December 8th, 1933.
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes and The World Day of the Sick is February 11th .
St. Bernadette’s feast day is February 18th .