The Relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous in the USA

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes has organized a five-month long pilgrimage of the relics of St. Bernadette Soubirous in the United States. The special tour was prepared in partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, North American Volunteers, Hospitalité of Miami and the Order of Malta. The special reliquary to hold the relics of St. Bernadette was made by Granda.

The travelling reliquary for St. Bernadette is modelled after 14th century tower style custodias and relic holders. The bishop, chaplains and archivist of the Basilica in Lourdes collaborated with Granda's team to create a work that reflected the spirit of Lourdes and the great Marian devotion of the visionary saint.

While most of the incorrupt body of St. Bernadette is venerated at the Convent of St. Gildard in Nevers, when the body was examined in 1925 in anticipation of her beatification, some relics were taken to Lourdes. At the time, a large neo-romanesque reliquary chasse was commissioned to the Lyonese firm Armand Caillat Fils in which the relics were encased and are today venerated in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes.

Since 2017, under the initiative of the Bishop of Tarbes-Lourdes, Most Rev. Nicolàs Browet, the relics of St Bernadette have travelled to several dioceses all over Europe. After several voyages, it was deemed that the large chasse was not the best option for travel, and serious concerns were raised as to its conservation. There was also the issue that while the relics where on tour, pilgrims at Lourdes would not be able to venerate the relics of St Bernadette’s. For this reason, a travelling reliquary was commissioned.

The Granda designed and crafted tower reliquary stands 70 cm (27 ½”) tall, is entirely plated in 24 carat gold and incorporates many elements that give it a unique Lourdais character. The structure is an octagonal neo-gothic spire, much like those found in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This bell tower shape symbolizes the message of Lourdes spread to all the world, like the toll of the bells calling on the faithful. It is surmounted by Christ’s glorious Cross and his Mother’s Crown, identical to those on the dome of the Basilica of the Rosary.

The vibrant enameled panels are inspired by the stained-glass windows of the Basilica, depicting St Bernadette kneeling at Our Lady’s feet. On the base of the piece are inscribed cartouches reading : Que soy era Immaculada Concepciou (“I am the Immaculate Conception” as spoken by Our Lady in Bernadette’s native Gascon dialect), Il suffit d’aimer (Bernadette’s words- “It is enough to Love”), Salus Infirmorum and Refugium Peccatorum (As part the character of the Sanctuary).


Granda Newsletter, July 2019 Online Edition -

St. Bernadette USA website –

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