On the 11th of February 1858, an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared in a grotto before a 14-year old girl in Lourdes. This grotto in Lourdes is replicated at St Gildard’s in Nevers (there is a plaque on the grotto that I might have misunderstood as saying in french that it was removed and transferred here; but after some thought and after leaving Nevers, I considered that implausible since pilgrimages to Lourdes surely includes a visit to that grotto).

Bernadette Soubirous, the 14-year old girl, lived in Nevers with the Sisters of Charity from the age of 22, and died there at the age of 35.

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Update: I have been able to enlarge another photo with the plaque and the inscription reads: Cette pierre à été détachée de la Grotte de Lourdes à l’endroit meme où… (This rock was detached from the Grotto of Lourdes at the same place where…)

It’s quite ambiguous really. The “rock” referred here could be the rock on the plaque itself (although it doesn’t look like a rock); or it could refer to the rock of the grotto, which I first thought, but found unlikely.

Update (26 July 2009): From a brochure provided by the Nevers tourism office, it states that the grotto at the Espace Bernadette is a reconstruction of the grotto of Massabielle.

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