St' Bernadette could have made herself a millionaire with the apparitions. There were people who offered her money if she would go to Paris with them to talk about the apparitions. She could also start her own hotel and restaurant business in Lourdes and make big bucks. Money would not be a problem as there were many people who offered her money. However, instead of busy making money out of the apparitions, Bernadette Soubirous became a nun. She chose the Order of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers. "I've come to hide", she pointed out on her arrival at St' Gildard's Convent in Nevers. Why did she come to Nevers to hide when she could easily become rich and live a comfortable life in Lourdes? Only a saint can make such a choice. She remained in Nevers until she died 21 years later in 1879 at the age of 35 after a prolonged and painful illness. The asthma and tuberculosis of the bones of her legs have finally wasted her away. This was how she summarised her whole life, "To obey is to love. To suffer in silence for Christ is joy! To love sincerely is to give everything, even grief!"
She was buried in a damp grave for 30 years. When she was exhumed in September 1909, her body was found to be incorrupt even though the rosary which she held in her hands had rusted. When she was exhumed again for the third time on 18 April 1925, the autopsy revealed that her internal organs were in perfect condition. Her liver was astonishingly well-preserved even though it is the organ which is most subject to decay. Today, her miraculously preserved body can be seen in a bronze and crystal casket in the Chapel of St' Bernadette at the Church of St' Gildard in Nevers. She was canonized as a saint on 8 December 1933. In Lourdes she remains close to the pilgrims with the message of her suffering lived in hope and joy. The message from Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette - prayer, penance and poverty were the keys that would open the Kingdom of God.
Lourdes is not just about healing. Those who go there with great expectations for miracles are likely to be disappointed. Lourdes is a place for prayers and penance. Life is not a bed of roses. And St' Bernadette had truly testified to Our Lady's call by living a life of humble prayers and sufferings. What really makes me adore her so much is the fact that she had rather walk in the footsteps of Christ than to make big bucks out of the apparitions. In this world which is so full of greed, she is a rarity.