GREAT FALLS - The relics of Saint Bernadette are on display for veneration at the Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Great Falls.
"The Sanctuary in Lourdes, France, reached out to us. We reached out to our bishop, who also was very in support. Bishop Michael Warfel. And he wrote them a letter and said, yes, we would gladly accept them. This is a young woman who was in the presence, who was visited by the mother of God. We have a full grade school from K to eight. They celebrate Bernadette and Our Lady on a regular basis," said Mary Jo Stebbins, the pastoral assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes.
The tour started in April 2022 as the relics of Saint Bernadette embarked on their first tour in the U.S., making stops at parishes across the country. It began in Miami before traveling to 30 cities across the country as it makes its way to the West coast.
The relic of Saint Bernadette, who was exhumed in 1925, has never left its home of Lourdes, France, until this year, when it was decided they should travel the country to bring healing to people.
"It's amazing because people are coming from far and wide to come experience the relics and to come and spend time with Our Lady and to come and spend time with Bernadette. And hopefully, that encounter is bringing them closer to Christ," said North American Lourdes volunteer Kathy Schulz.
The relic traveling through the U.S. is an ex-carne relic given to the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception. This congregation has managed the Sanctuary of Lourdes since 1866.
The “Original Acts," preserved in the Archives of Nevers, reveal that the relics taken are:
- A fragment of the 5th rib
- A fragment of the 6th rib
- The kneecaps
- A sample of muscle from external part of right femur
- Various fragments from muscles and skin
"We've seen a lot of healing, physically, spiritually, emotionally. It's an amazing and healing opportunity to have them here,” said Majel Braden.
The relic will be displayed until Friday, June 24, and the parish invites anyone who wants to come view it to experience them before they head to Denver for the next stop.
The events will be as follows:
Thursday, June 23
- 8:00am: Morning Mass
- 9:00am-4pm: Visitation and Veneration of the Relics
- 6:00pm: Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience
Friday, June 24
- 8:00am: Morning Mass; 9:00am-4pm: Visitation and Veneration of the Relics
- 4pm-5:30pm: Reconciliation
- 6:00pm: Sharing of Testimonies (from those who have visited Lourdes, France)
- 6:45pm: Candlelight Eucharistic Procession (12 city blocks)
- 7:30pm: Rosary in the church
- 8:00pm: Farewell Celebration Prayers
The church address is 409 13th Street South. For more information, you can contact the parish at 406-452-6464.