From Lourdes to Lambeth Road: relics of St Bernadette come to SE1

Thousands of people are expected to visit St George's Cathedral this week to venerate the relics of St Bernadette Soubirous, whose visions of the Virgin Mary led to the establishment of the famous shrine at Lourdes in France.

From Lourdes to Lambeth Road: relics of St Bernadette come to SE1

Bernadette Soubirous is best known for experiencing Marian apparitions of a "young lady" in 1858 who asked for a chapel to be built at the nearby cave-grotto at Massabielle. The church eventually acknowledged these visions as Our Lady of Lourdes and the town has been a major centre of pilgrimage ever since, with Soubirous being canonised in 1933.

During September and October the relics of St Bernadette have been touring England, Scotland and Wales for the first time, and on Wednesday the tour reached St George's Cathedral in Southwark.

In his homily at the service of welcome, Archbishop of Southwark John Wilson said: "Here are the remains of the young girl who saw Mary: a tangible link between our faith, between Bernadette, between Our Lady and her Son, and God our Father.

"And so we come with faith - asking the prayers of St Bernadette for ourselves, for those we love, for our families, for our future, for our country, for our world, for peace, for justice, for healing and for mercy."

During the service of welcome, an extract of St Bernadette's journal was read and the rosary was prayed.

The programme for the 48-hour visit of the relics to Southwark is at

Tags: Churches, Southwark

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