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Certain Saints of the Nineteenth Century

  • Category(s): Religion Essays
  • Created on : 11 May 2013
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


I have linked Damien, Bernadette and Therese all French speaking Catholics who were raised to the Sainthood by Eternal Rome prudently and expeditiously: Damien for his personal self-sacrifice and life of service; Therese for her extraordinary holiness and self-denial and Bernadette for her vision and insight to Mary herself. Their quality is incomparable and inspired by the supernatural grace of Christ through the Sacrament of Holy Communion and the sister Sacrament of Confession. We salute you trois – Catholiques par exellence.

A Short Composition: Apparitions of our Lady to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and “Roses” of Saint Therese of Lisieux

Two great examples of Holy Women and a Holy Man of the modern era who blazed a trail for Christians of the 20th century onwards.

1. Introduction

These apparitions on a relatively frequent basis over a certain limited period of time – say a month – were genuine appearances to Bernadette yet not visible to others. They were not mirages or hallucinations of the mind through the eyes of Bernadette. Yet clearly Our Lady was not bodily present – i.e. there was no touching or shaking of hands. But Our Lady’s voice could be heard and she spoke intelligibly and she was recognisable as the Virgin Mary – she gave out commands obeyed by Bernadette.

2. Argument and Analysis

What do the apparitions amount to? A lifting or suspension of the barrier between the visible world and the invisible. Our Lady re-entered the visible world to inspire Bernadette and thereby thousands and thousands of pilgrims:- Popes, Bishops, Priests and the Laity since the 1860’s and indeed cures have been claimed in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes ever since. Bernadette herself lived a humble Nun’s life dying early on – she had bad health. The Apparitions have led to prayers, masses and pilgrimages to Lourdes including the sacrament of healing and extreme unction (the last Rites).

3. The personal life of R M Lamb esq

My own experience has not consisted of Apparitions but offering my life to God, Christ and the Trinity. There has been so much adversity and strain which I need not enumerate in my life. Therefore the need to offer it all up at the foot of the Cross has become paramount. I have done so generally yet I have also specifically and actually channelled my stress through my sacrifices. Nothing is achieved without the specific and actual. If you stay general and potential you are shadow boxing. You must tie your colours to the mast. These sacrifices/offerings are at the heart of my life religious. Without them my life would be weak as water. I derive great strength from these sacrifices in my active and public life.

4. Comparison with the Mass Sacrifice

They are in one sense an enactment and the Mass enacts the passion and death of Christ in Jerusalem.

Because I have been Catholic so long and with such intensity I instinctively search for enactment, offering and sacrifice. It has intensified since 2009 and has been maintained at that tempo ever since.

5. The Record

Sometimes in life persons see or hear something spoken which the hearer does not recall for whatever reason (fear, lack of memory, the way spoken, lack of concentration, shortage of time, not being in the habit of making a mental note or recording the words spoken.) Clearly Bernadette’s experience has been properly documented.

6. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Bernadette

Our Lady’s appearance to Bernadette was specific, actual, and memorable – the BVM did not mince her words and was prepared to risk obloquy if the Roman Catholic Church did not back her which in fact it did and Bernadette.

7. The lesson of Bernadette’s encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary

Bernadette teaches preparedness to believe, to recount events and to pray as Our lady wished and to discover the stream of water as directed by Our Lady all located in France of South West in 1860’s period. Bernadette was very brave and obedient yet faced massive doubting of her sanity, sanctity and perception in 1860’s France – not a pro-Catholic Country yet she persevered with her account. Even the hierarchy and priests cast scorn upon her version of events and doubted her veracity. Bernadette was prepared to go out on a limb as Catholics do – this time for the BVM who herself had gone to the extremity in the Apparitions. Bernadette had before her the example of the BVM at Lourdes which inspired her to be actual and specific in her version to the Catholic hierarchy – true Christian courage I say.

8. R.M. Lamb’s Contribution to criticism

What can I say? I am sympathetic. I am driven not as Bernadette prayed but a little as Therese of Lisieux described her personal little challenges/menial (cleaning jobs) and sacrifices her “little roses” in late 19th Century France where she was a nun. For Therese these small trials and tribulations by her determination and grace of God she turned into “roses” for Our Lady.

9. Conclusion

Both Bernadette and Therese of Lisieux have messages for R M Lamb esq yet he a man of 61 years now and they French young women who died in the late 19th Century and were canonised – both nuns. R M Lamb a late 20th Century and early 21st Century Solicitor Advocate, latterly in family law of English Courts. They have both truly been inspirational, particularly St Therese from an early age – yet R.M.

Lamb’s confirmation name is a Belgian French speaking Priest of Lepers, St Damien chosen before he was beatified (1995) by Pope John Paul II Sacre Coeur Cathedral Bruxelles. (I chose Damien in February 1964 -thirty years before 1995 - for my confirmation – Bournemouth).

I am a sinner as Damien reminds me yet I rise with Bernadette and Therese in the evening of my life to view the colouring and delightful sunset – a Shepherd’s delight (the shepherd lays down his life for his flock). I rejoice in my father’s Catholicism and his encouragement of my French speaking – as always he knew best for his oldest son Richard, brought up to respect and practise Roman Catholic from my birth on 30 March 1952 without interruption – not even at Manchester University in early 1970’s. Once a Catholic always a Catholic. I heartily concur.