Franciscan Saints




 16th April



St. Benedict Joseph Labre




Feast day 17th April



and St. Mary Bernadette Soubirous


Feast day February 18th



Cord Bearers of St. Francis.








St. Benedict Joseph Labre

In Saint Benedict Joseph Labre there was realized the full meaning contained in the words of God: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject." (1 Cor. 1:19). Saint Benedict Joseph Labre's entrance into the world took place at Amettes, France. He was the first-born of parents who were favoured by God with 15 children.


It appears that the spirit of God, which moved him strongly throughout life, came over Saint Benedict Joseph Labre at the age of 16, for, from that time onward; he lost all inclination to continue his studies. For that reason, too, his training for the priesthood, which his reverend uncle so earnestly desired, came to naught.


Due to his poor health and lack of knowledge, Saint Benedict Joseph Labre was refused admission also among the Carthusians and the Cistercians. Then it was that he was interiorly instructed to imitate the life of St Alexis, leave his parents and his native town, live on alms, and visit the great shrines as a pilgrim. From that day on his soul was flooded with great peace.


St Benedict's food was composed of the leavings that fell from the tables of others. Alms that had been given to him he gave to the poor. The rags of this beggar of the Lord covered a heart that glowed with love of God and neighbour, and the most tender devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Mother of God. At Assisi he was received into the Confraternity of the Cord of St. Francis. He has been the pride of that pious society ever since.

His repulsive exterior caused him more pain than it did others; indeed, his sensitiveness on the subject was his most poignant suffering. He used to say: "Our comfort is not in this world." In Rome he was called the poor man of the Forty Hours' Devotion. On the day of his death, April 16, 1783, he dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours until he collapsed. He was carried into a near-by house, where he died that night most peacefully.


Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint. The guardians of Christian morals, Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII, have proposed the beggar Benedict as an example to a generation steeped in materialism. The former beatified him, the latter proclaimed him a saint of the Church.

Prayer of the Church


Thou, O Lord, didst permit St. Benedict Joseph, Thy confessor,

to attach himself to Thee alone by zeal in humility and love for

poverty; grant us, through his intercession and merits, to despise

all that is material and ever aspire to what is heavenly.

Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and the Holy Spirit,  One God, now and forever.  Amen


St. Mary Bernadette Soubirous


Born at Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844. She was the oldest child of a miller named Francis Soubirous and his wife, Louise. She went by Bernadette as a child, and lived in abject poverty with her parents. She suffered from asthma, and was a poor student, which kept her from making her first Holy Communion until she was 14.

On February 11, 1858, while collecting firewood with her sisters along the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes, she alone saw a vision of a beautiful woman inside a cave above the riverbank. She was dressed in white and blue with golden roses on her feet. St Bernadette’s report was not immediately accepted, even by her mother, but her visions of the Lady drew increasingly larger crowds. Despite great hostility on the part of the socialist civil authorities, St Bernadette Soubirous’ reports of the visions continued, and on February 25 Our Lady told St Bernadette to “Drink of the fountain,” and caused a spring to flow from the earth.

On March 25, Our Lady finally revealed to St Bernadette her title, saying: “I am the Immaculate Conception,” confirming the declaration of Pope Pius IX, who had proclaimed it a dogma of the Church four years previously. The Blessed Virgin related to St Bernadette that she wanted a chapel built on that site, which eventually happened.


St Bernadette Soubirous became a Sister of Notre Dame at Nevers in 1866, and she remained there, near Lourdes, for the rest of her life. She became a member of the Confraternity of the Cord of St. Francis, having been received into this society after she had become a religious sister. St Bernadette suffered greatly from tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee until her death on April 16, 1879.

 St Bernadette Soubirous’ body was exhumed on September 22, 1909, and was found to be incorrupt, and her skin had the same color as that of a living person. St Bernadette was found in a similar state during a second exhumation in 1919. After this occasion she was placed in a gold and glass reliquary at the motherhouse of the Sister of Nevers, where she appears to be sleeping even until this day.

St Bernardette Soubirous was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI. The little town of Lourdes became the site of pilgrimages, similar to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, attracting millions of faithful Catholics every year. Astonishing healings began almost immediately in the miraculous water at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.


Prayer by St Bernardette Soubirous

How happy my soul was, good mother, when I had the good fortune to gaze upon you!

How I love to recall the pleasant moments spent under your gaze, so full of kindness

and mercy for us. Yes, tender Mother, you stooped down to earth to appear to a mere

child. You, the Queen of Heaven and Earth chose to use what is weakest in the eyes of

men. O Mary, give the precious virtue of humility to she who dares to call herself your

child. O loving Mother, help your child to resemble you in everything and every way.

In a word, grant that I may be a child according to your heart and the heart of your dear son.





Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


April       Next


Last edited 13/09/2017 07:39 
(C) EFO 2013
Web administrator Wayne Benge