Nevers is a town in central France, in the Burgundy region, in the Nièvre department. Located almost in the center of France, at the confluence of the Nièvre with the Loire, about 260 km south of Paris.
The city has Roman origins, it was then a bishop’s seat in the Middle Ages and, after being part of the Duchy of Burgundy, in 1538 it became the seat of an autonomous duchy. In 1798 it became part of the French state. Famous in the past for the production of majolica, even today this traditional activity is perpetuated. The Nevers Magny-Cours Formula 1 circuit is located near Nevers.
Nevers, which today has about forty thousand inhabitants, is a destination for pilgrimages. Here, in fact, there is the tomb of Saint Bernadette (Bernadette Soubirous) the girl to whom the Our Lady appeared in Lourdes in 1858.
NEVERS: THE TOMB OF SAINT BERNADETTE
The remains of Saint Bernadette (Bernadette Soubirous), the girl to whom Our Lady appeared in Lourdes in 1858, are kept in Nevers, in the church of the Convent of Saint Gildard (Cappella de l’Espace Bernadette).
The body of the Saint has undergone three exhumations (1909, 1919 and 1925). These exhumations certified that his remains have remained relatively intact (Bernadette died on April 16, 1879, at only 35 years old). But even more surprising is that partially intact they were also part of hers internal organs.
The first exhumation took place in 1909. On this occasion it was ascertained that the body had remained intact, in the details of the nails, hair and teeth. While the strong humidity had made the traces of clothes and an object disappear.
The second exhumation was held in 1919. This was accomplished by two doctors, who confirmed the same situation ten years earlier, with the difference that the body now appeared darker, all without giving off unpleasant smells.
The third exhumation took place on the eve of Bernardette’s beatification in 1925. This time, the body showed clear signs of decomposition. On this occasion an autopsy of the body was also made, which showed that the internal organs were in part still intact, in particular the liver.
The ecclesial authorities decided to expose the body to veneration, on this occasion the face and hands were covered with a light mask to protect them from the external environment.