Sense of Life. Articles in English. Sign of Eternal life.
Welcome to the world of language jobs!
Portal for Language Professionals and their Clients.  39,000+ Freelance Translators.  7,000+ Translation Agencies.
Articles for translators and linguists - Sign of Eternal life
Home More Articles About the Sense of Life Database of Translation Agencies Database of Translators Become a Member!


  Upload Your Resume
  Add Your Translation Agency
  Become a Member
  Edit Your Profile
  Find Translation Jobs
  Find Rare Translation Jobs
  Find Very Rare Language Jobs
  Find Jobs in Rarest Pairs
  Receive All Jobs by RSS
  Work for Translation Agencies
  Post Your Translation Job
  Hire Translators-Members
  Hire All Translators
  Easily Contact Translators
  Hire Translation Agencies Members
  Contact All Translation Agencies
  Obtain Blacklisted Employers
  Apply to Collection Agencies
  Read Articles (By Category)
  Read Articles (By Index)
  Read Sense-of-Life Articles
  Read Work-at-Home Articles
  Use Free Dictionaries
  Use Free Glossaries
  Use Free Translators
  Use Free Software
  Vote in Polls for Translators
  Subscribe to Free Newsletter
  Advertise Here
  Buy Database of Translators
  Buy Translation Agencies List
  Buy Membership
  Watch Out for Scam E-mails
  Read Testimonials
  Read More Testimonials
  Read Even More Testimonials
  Read Yet More Testimonials
  Read Still More Testimonials
  Become our Customer
  Use Resources for Translators
  Use Online Directory
  Read our FAQ
  Ask Questions in Forum
  Use Sitemap
  Admire God's Creations

Sign of Eternal life

Bernadette Soubirous, receiver of numerous apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858, joined a convent novitiate in Nevers in 1866. There she remained until her death on April 16, 1879. Since then, the world has been witnessing a spectacular and continuous miracle. Contrary to the laws of nature, St. Bernadette’s body has been spared both external or internal decomposition, and preserves to this day an amazing freshness and beauty.

Pilgrims at the Chapel of the Convent of Saint Gildard in Nevers can see the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous for themselves. It is dressed in a nun’s habit and seems to be sleeping, the head bent slightly to the left. A rosary entwines the hands which are joined in a gesture of prayer. The sight of St. Bernadette lying in a glass coffin evokes surprise and amazement among the pilgrims. Is this really she? – they ask. Can her body really have been spared the process of decay? Is this her actual face, and not just an artificial mask?” In this article I will attempt to provide substantive answers to these questions, relying on the scientific study of André Ravier, author of a book about the phenomenon of St. Bernadette’s body.

News about St. Bernadette’s death traveled quickly. From Nevers and all parts of France, crowds of people converged on the convent in order to pay their respects to the future saint. Her body was exposed for public viewing in the chapel. Since people kept arriving, the funeral had to be put off until April 19. Bernadette’s body was laid in a zinc-lined, oak coffin, which was then sealed with numerous seals in the presence of the town mayor and two policemen. Witnesses signed their names, certifying the entire process. By special permission of the mayor’s office, Bernadette’s body was buried in the convent garden.

The diocese was unable to process the necessary documentation concerning St. Bernadette until fall of 1909. According to the regulations of the day, a procedure called a “canonical examination of the body” had to be performed. This took place on September 22, 1909. A detailed official report of this first exhumation can be found among Saint-Gildard convent’s archives. There we read that at 8:30 a.m. Bishop Gauthey of Nevers, assisted by members of the diocesan tribunal, entered the convent chapel. A table displaying an open Holy Bible stood by the door. Three separate groups of witnesses attended, two physicians, two bricklayers and two carpenters. After their swearing in, the exhumation team went to Bernadette’s tomb, opened it, and withdrew the coffin. The two carpenters prized open the coffin lid amid great suspense. An amazing sight struck their eyes. The body of Bernadette had remained perfectly preserved. Her face shone with virginal beauty. Her eyes were closed, as if she were peacefully sleeping, the lips were slightly open, the head tilted to the left. The skin was in perfect condition, still adhering to the muscles. A rusting rosary entwined the hands. Veins were visible under the skin. The nails of the fingers and toes were also in pristine condition. And this state of preservation continues to the present day! The two physicians undertook a detailed inspection of the corpse. According to their report, what they saw, once the habit had been removed and the veil lifted from the head, was a whole body – elastic and integral in every limb. “In witness whereof – concluded the report – we have duly drawn up this present statement, in which all is truthfully recorded”. It was signed by Dr. C. David, a surgeon, and Dr. A. Jourdan. After the inspection, the nuns washed the body and re-laid it in a double zinc-lined coffin. The coffin was closed, sealed and returned to the vault.

Commenting on the perfect preservation of St. Bernadette’s body 30 years after her death, Father André Ravier stresses that the phenomenon is a mystery that admits of no explanation. Not only had Bernadette suffered from various diseases while she was alive, but her body had been interred in a damp vault. Her habit was sopping wet. The rosary and the cross were rusty. Despite the fact that she had been buried in a place that would normally accelerate the decomposition of the body, St. Bernadette’s corpse was entirely intact.

Another inspection of the body took place April 3, 1919, when the cause for her beatification had began. Those in attendance were the Bishop of Nevers, the police commissioner, some town representatives, and members of the church tribunal. Again two physicians, Dr. Talon and Dr. Comte, performed the examination. This time, however, they wrote separate reports, without consulting with one another.

As the original documents show, both reports concurred perfectly, not only with each other, but also with the earlier reports of Dr. David and Dr. Jourdan. There was only one minor new development: patches of mildew on the body. This was probably the result of the body being washed, following the first exhumation.

In 1923, Pope Pius IX pronounced the authenticity of Bernadette’s heroic virtues, which opened the road to beatification. A third and last inspection of the body was now necessary. This took place on April 18, 1925, i.e. 46 years and two days after Bernadette’s death. Those attending the third exhumation were the Bishop of Nevers, the police commissioner, the mayor, and two physicians. Following their swearing-in, the coffin was brought to the Chapel of Sainte Hélene and opened. Once again the body was found to be in a perfect state of preservation. In his final report, Dr. Comte, who supervised the medical team, observed: “the body of the Venerable Bernadette is intact (...) it does not appear to have suffered putrefaction, nor has any decomposition of the cadaver set in, although this is to be expected and normal after such a long period in a vault hollowed out of the earth”. Some time later Dr. Comte published an article in a scientific journal, in which he stated: “What struck me during this examination, was of course the state of perfect preservation enjoyed by the skeleton, the fibrous muscle tissue (still supple and firm), the ligaments and skin. But what was totally unexpected was the state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and susceptible to crumbling, would have decomposed very rapidly or hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet under the scalpel it proved soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon”.

Fragments of the liver, a muscle and two ribs were removed from Bernadette’s body as relics. The rest of the corpse was left intact. It remained in the Chapel of Sainte Hélene, but the doors remained closed and sealed until the day of the beatification by Pope Pius XI on June 14, 1925. Later, on July 18 of the same year, the body of Blessed Bernadette was laid in a glass shrine. It rests in the same novitiate hall in which, after her admission to the convent, she first related her Marian apparitions to her 300 fellow sisters. On August 3, 1925, the shrine was moved yet again to a chapel located to the right of the main altar. It is there to this day.

Those making a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Nevers would do well to recall that the glass shrine indeed contains the miraculously preserved body of St. Bernadette Soubirous. These are the very same face and eyes that witnessed the Virgin Mary’s apparitions 18 times in Lourdes; the very same hands that worked the beads of the rosary during those apparitions, the same hands that later dug out the miraculous water-spring of Lourdes; the same lips that uttered the name of Immaculate Conception to the parish priest; the same pure heart that worshiped Love with all its might. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt. 5:8).

By the sign of her incorrupt body, St. Bernadette is actually present in spirit. She offers prayers and witnesses to the truth that all we need in order to be happy is God. She is, as she will continue to be, a sign calling for the reformation of our souls, for accepting the joyous truth that God is Love, and that only His love can lead us from the horror of submission to sin and death to the joys of eternal life.

Her perfectly preserved body is a sign that human death is actually the beginning of real life in Eternity, the life that Jesus Christ offers each of us in the Eucharist. May we never forget that our life on earth is meant to be a preparation for our meeting with Christ at the moment of death. May we never close our hearts to the gift of eternal life through unbelief, immorality and sinful stubbornness. “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows in his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6,7-8)

Those living in the darkness of unbelief and sin should remember that the chance to convert, to become a saint, is always present. It is enough to trust in the infinite Mercy of God. At that point a miracle can occur in one’s life. Jesus says this: “You don’t have to go on long pilgrimages, or to perform some ritual or other in order to experience this miracle. All you have to do is approach in faith those who represent me on this earth and tell them of your misery. Then the miracle of God’s mercy will burst forth in all its splendor. Even if the soul should resemble a decaying body, even if in human terms it were impossible to save it, even if everything would seem to be lost – it is not like that in God’s view of things. The miracle of God’s mercy raises the soul completely. Oh, you pitiable ones, who do not make use of this miracle of God’s mercy, in vain you will shout; but it will be too late”. (St. Faustina’s Diary, 710)


Please subscribe

If you are interested to download entire issue in PDF format

The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

Read sense of life articles in the following languages:
English Deutsch Polski Český Magyar Slovenský Română Български Українською Русский

Submit your article!

Read more articles - Free!

Need translation jobs? Click here!

Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!

Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!

Subscribe to newsletter - Free!

Take part in poll - your voice counts!


Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive updates from us:


New at the Forum

Read Articles

# 2488
Rosetta Stone and Translation Rates

# 2467
Translation - an Ageless Profession

# 2466
Have Language, Will Travel

# 2486
Почему так мало хороших переводов и хороших переводчиков?

# 2479
Average monthly wage in different European countries

# 2487
Two New Chinese Translations of Hamlet Introduced and Compared

# 2475
Linguistic history of the Indian subcontinent

# 2474
Languages with official status in India

# 2251
The Database: Your Most Valuable Asset!

More articles
More articles for translators

Vote in Polls

All Polls:
Polls on all topics

Christian Polls:
Polls on Christian topics

Financial Polls:
Polls on Financial topics

Polls for Freelancers:

Poll # 104
Have you obtained at least one new client through your facebook account?

Poll # 100
What is the worst time-waster?

Poll # 099
If you work at a laptop, do you usually use touchpad or mouse?

Poll # 094
If you run a translation agency, do you ever outsource / subcontract your projects to other translation agencies?

Poll # 090
What do you like the most about

Poll # 088
Which translation portal emails you the largest number of job notifications?

Poll # 087
Which one of the following sites has the most appealing color scheme?

Poll # 085
Do you charge a fine (interest) fee for every day of payment delay?

Poll # 083
Do you have licensed SDL Trados software installed at your computer?

Poll # 079
Have you always dreamt to become a translator?

Poll # 078
Do you plan to be a freelance translator for the rest of your life?

Poll # 077
Is it necessary to learn translation theory in order to become a good translator?

Poll # 076
Will human translation be entirely replaced by machine translation in the future?

Poll # 074
Do you have savings?

Poll # 065
Do you know that the Bible is the most popular book in the world?

Poll # 063
What is the purpose of your life?

Poll # 059
How many hours per night do you sleep (in average)?

More polls
More polls for freelancers

translation jobs
christianity portal


Copyright © 2003-2023 by
Legal Disclaimer
Site Map