This afternoon, we took the local bus to Bartres, where St Bernadette spent two periods of her childhood. Above you can see the sheepfold used by St Bernadette which is a few minutes' walk from the village. (I posted some information last year under the title St Bernadette and Bartres).
In the village itself, you visit the house where St Bernadette stayed, and the parish Church where she was cared for pastorally by Fr Ader.
Fr Ader's departure to try his vocation with the Benedictines was the occasion for St Bernadette to return to Lourdes in early 1858 to continue her preparation for Holy Communion. It was during this time that the seventeen apparitions of Our Lady occurred. She received her first Communion on 3 June 1858 which was the feast of Corpus Christi.
Tomorrow is the 3rd of June and is again the feast of Corpus Christi. We will be privileged to celebrated High Mass in the Crypt of the parish Church on the date and feast day on which St Bernadette received her first Holy Communion. I have only just had this pointed out to me so my sermon is being rapidly re-written.
Next year, we hope to book the Church at Bartres for Mass. In the sacristy, I asked the very helpful member of the parish team how to book for Mass and whether it would be possible to use the High Altar. She was slightly puzzled at first so I pointed to it and said in my best French "the old altar - you see we celebrate the traditional Mass." "Oh yes," she said, "that would be fine. We had another group that did that." How things have changed in recent years!
I'm now off to take a photograph which will amuse some readers...