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Why St. Bernadette has a feast day in February and April



Philip Kosloski - published on 02/17/24

St. Bernadette died on April 16, but the local Church in France celebrates her each year on February 18.

Many know about St. Bernadette for the miraculous visions she had of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. Millions of pilgrims travel to bathe in the waters of Lourdes each year.

While the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is on February 11, St. Bernadette has a separate feast dedicated to her life and powerful example.

The exact date of her feast has changed over the years and is now split.

Initially her feast was set for February 18 on the Universal Calendar. This is the date of the third apparition of the Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette.

The official website of the Sanctuary at Lourdes explains, “On 18th February 18, at 6 a.m., Bernadette had brought a pen, paper and ink with her. The Lady spoke for the first time: ‘What I have to say to you does not have to be written down, but will you do me the honor of coming here for 15 days?‘ The Apparition added these words for Bernadette: ‘I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.‘”

February 18 remains St. Bernadette’s feast day on the local calendar in France, as well as the calendar of the Extraordinary Form.

However, after Vatican II, her feast day was moved from February 18 to April 16, the date of her death.

Celebrating saints on the date of their death is standard practice, though there are numerous exceptions to this rule.

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