Our Youth

Let Them Speak: Be Inspired By St. Bernadette

By Thomas Kough II, Special to The Tablet Youth Page

The story of St. Bernadette is one that embodies the true spirit of what it means to be a Catholic.

For Catholic youth and myself, she serves as a symbol of grace and a teacher of faithfulness and courageous humbleness. Her legacy endures today because the strength of her conviction in the face of doubt was borne of a deep love of God and a surrender to the Holy Spirit.

Kough II

Bernadette remains a hero to the Catholic youth because even though she was tested at such a young age, her persistence and belief in the truth of her experience is an astonishing truth.

At the age of 14, Bernadette witnessed the image of Our Holy Mother. What a soul it would have taken to kneel and pray alongside such divine light, and remain certain of Our Lady’s warmth!

In the sequential months, weathering the reviling of her parents for supposed fantasies and even clerical accusations of demonic possession, Bernadette never faltered in her unwavering faith that the apparitions were all part of God’s ultimate plan.

Regarding her perpetual humility, after the miraculous events at the Grotto of Massabielle, Bernadette was constantly asked for by pilgrims and travelers alike. They hounded her for a chance to touch her or to even take pieces of her hair. It came to a point that Bernadette moved to a convent to escape the crowds.

Though she was not fond of visitors coming to stand in her grace, Bernadette did not remove herself completely from the reception of the masses. She never spoke to anyone as though she was superior because of her especially blessed life, but she did understand the value that she held as a beacon of purity and piety for those pilgrims. If Bernadette could save one soul or inspire one follower to ask for the love of Christ once again, then she was perfectly willing to extend herself to the visiting public.

These character qualities are incredibly important in the modern world as many young people begin to drift from the virtues of faith and humility due to the many immense distractions that social culture is so very happy to provide.

I believe that a way to find communion with the teachings of Christ is through asking God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and radiating Christian Joy through everyday interactions in a humble way.

Through those gracious actions, perhaps we as Bernadette’s brothers and sisters in Christ can discover more about her later struggles.

How can one know the warmth of Our Holy Mother in one moment and then return to the earthly world without chasing the glow of heaven forever? It is through earthly benevolence and community outreach that we as Christians attempt to see the world as Bernadette did, as a sinner who was born for the aid of other sinners.

By travelling to the place of her birth in Lourdes, France, youth pilgrims can witness firsthand how Bernadette’s ardent faith and humility left a legacy that touches millions of people every year.

We, the future of the Church, must pray for the courageous faith like that of a 14-year old girl on that miraculous February day.

Thomas Kough is a freshman at The University of Arizona.