St. Bernadette was born at Lourdes, France. Her parents were very poor and she herself was in poor health. One cold day in February when Bernadette was only 14, she was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood. During the outing Bernadette looked up at a grotto or cave where she suddenly saw a circle of white light and inside it she saw a very beautiful Lady. The lovely Lady was dressed in blue and white. She smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary and began to pray the rosary. The beautiful Lady was God’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette seventeen other times and spoke with her. She told Bernadette that she should pray for sinners, do penance and have a chapel built there in her honor. Many people did not believe Bernadette when she spoke of her vision. She had to suffer much. But one day Our Lady told Bernadette to dig in the mud. As she did, a spring of water began to flow. The next day it continued to grow larger and larger. Many miracles happened when people began to use this water. Despite initial skepticism from the Catholic Church, Bernadette’s claims were eventually declared “worthy of belief” after a canonical investigation, and the Marian apparition is now known as Our Lady of Lourdes. A great church was built on the spot where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared and even today many people from all over the world come to visit it, especially the sick, and many are cured there.
When Bernadette was older, she became a nun. On April 16, 1879, Bernadette — or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she was known within her order — died in the Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) Infirmary of the Convent of Saint-Gildard. She was thirty-five.
April 16 is her feast day.
source: Catholic Online