Each year thousands of people from all over the world come on pilgrimage to Nevers to pray beside Saint Bernadette.
Coming to Nevers means coming to meet Bernadette Soubirous and be influenced by her and by the message she received in Lourdes and lived out in Nevers :
Every human being is precious in the eyes of God.
A team of employees and volunteers (lay people, priests, Sisters of Charity of Nevers), will welcome you to this Sanctuary and help you during your stay.
Listed below are some elements to help you with the organization of your pilgrimage. Select what you consider suitable for your group.
Guided tour “In the footsteps of Bernadette”
This pilgrimage enables you to discover Bernadette through the significant places in the house and the important events which marked her life.
If you are doing the pilgrimage over two days, we suggest the following three stages:
1st stage: “The call … from Lourdes to Nevers.”
A guided visit to the Grotto, the main Gate and the Façade.
2nd stage: “Bernadette, an ordinary saint.”
A guided visit to the garden at the back of the Chapel, the Novitiate and Our Lady of the Waters.
3rd stage: “The path of confidence”
A guided visit to St. Joseph’s Chapel, Holy Cross Oratory and the main Chapel.
The pilgrimage ends with a time for sharing.
Please note that the “Walk in the Footsteps of Bernadette” can be effected in one stage.
Projection of a film on Bernadette
Presentation of a 25-minute documentary …
Based on information from the archives, this documentary takes us into Bernadette’s world and her encounter with Mary, where we follow her on her spiritual journey from Lourdes to Nevers.
The film can be an introduction to the “Walk in the Footsteps of Bernadette” or it can help you bring together what you have discovered about the life of the saint.
After the documentary, a time for spontaneous sharing is suggested.
Visit the museum in small groups
Your organizer/group leader will guide you to the museum.
The expression on Bernadette’s face, as you enter the museum, invites you to look at the world and its people in a different light.
The museum, designed as a journey, helps you to discover the life of Bernadette. It retraces the various places connected with her – the cachot, the grotto, the hospice in Lourdes and her life in Nevers.
Photographs and objects depict Bernadette’s various activities during the thirteen years spent in Nevers.
The group can participate in the Masses in French offered in Bernadette’s Chapel :
- Daily at 11.45 a.m
- Wednesdays and Fridays at 8.00 a.m. and 11.45 a.m.
- Sundays and Holidays of Obligation at 10.00 a.m
If you have a priest in your group, your leader must reserve the place and time of your Mass.
Times of Prayer
Our animation team can help you prepare evening prayer :
- Beside Bernadette’s shrine
- In Holy Cross Oratory
- At Our Lady of the Waters
Your own group will take charge of the prayer (+/- half an hour).
Visits outside the Sanctuary
- Visit of Nevers, a town of art and history (Contact Tourist Office for information and reservation +33 (0)3 86 68 45 01 )
- Visit the Cathedral (Contact Tourist Office for information and reservation +33 (0)3 86 68 45 01 or “Regards sur la cathédrale” Association +33 (0)7 70 91 11 46.
- Other nearby places of interest : Enquire at Espace Bernadette.
- Contact Tourist Office for more information.
Two ways of following in “The Footsteps of Bernadette”:
- a guided visit
- an independent visit, at your own pace, with a document
Bernadette invites you to follow her to the Grotto, through the gardens, to Saint Joseph’s chapel, to the Facade and to the Chapel where she is enshrined.
Each venue can evoke some facets of her ordinary daily life, her time as a nurse, her experiences and her illnesses. We follow her on her spiritual journey. Bernadette was twenty-two when she arrived in Nevers and it was in this house that her faith and her love of God blossomed. Thirteen years after her arrival, as death was approaching, clutching her crucifix, she said : « He is sufficient for me» !
When you walk in the footsteps of Bernadette, she becomes close to you , just like a friend. She invites you to be at one with her.
Children and adolescents can also discover Bernadette's life through activities adapted to their age.
A treasure hunt for children from 6 to 10 years old
The book offers a fun route that takes children to discover the life of Bernadette through different places in the house and in the garden.
Children are interactively, in small groups, accompanied by an adult from the group who has an accompanying booklet.
A treasure hunt for 11 - 14 year olds
Thoughts, prayers, games, questions, dot the game booklet that is given to adolescents. They can be accompanied by an adult of the group or left independently in the park of the house.
Board games :
"Discovering Bernadette": a game that allows you to joyfully test your knowledge of Saint Bernadette in Lourdes and Nevers, (map and game board).
“Discovering the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers”: a game that takes us to the origins of the Congregation that Bernadette will join in 1866, (map and game board).