This is amazing! The thing to remember is that the poor sisters of those days were buried in a pine box and in no way embalmed like today.
St. Bernadette’s Body after 122 years is one of the 200+ miracle facts of incorruptible bodies that can only be traced to most of the declared saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
Below is a picture of Bernadette Soubivous after her death and before she was buried.
St. Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette Soubirous is the saint of Lourdes, France. Visionary and messenger of the Immaculate Conception, she told us the very words of the Virgin Mary, spoken in the native Basque tongue of Southern France and Northern Spain. She spoke words teaching of the merits of prayer, penance, poverty and church. In the first and most widely recognized Marian apparition of modern times, a personal message was delivered also to Bernadette—She would not find happiness in this world, but only in the next.
She was to die twenty–one years later in 1879 after a prolonged and painful illness. She remained hidden in a convent about 300 miles from home, a refuge from the interrogations and the pilgrims that never ceased seeking her. At thirty–five, her strong–willed manner gave way to her frail body, and she finally entered into her eternal happiness.
While she took with her the knowledge of certain secrets the Virgin gave her, one secret remained hidden in our presence. The most spectacular of all the incorruptibles, Bernadette’s miraculously preserved body remained buried in a damp grave for thirty years until the cause for beatification was taken up. To this day, the body of Bernadette is a profound source of inspiration and of mystery surrounding the ways of the Lord. The face of Bernadette is one of surreal beauty, and will remain for us always the face that gazed into the eyes of the Mother of God.
Scientists have wondered about this because it defies the laws of nature and instead of expecting a foul smell of a dead body, a fragrance of flowers can be experienced when the glass of coffin is opened. Some say they experience the fragrance by just going near the coffin. You can visit the Church of Lourdes , France to verify yourself the authenticity of this truly wonderfu experience and see for yourself a living miracle of our times.www.turnbacktogod.com.
The Incorrupt Body of St. Bernadette Soubirous
The following YouTube video was uploaded by Benjamin Teixeira on May 13, 2011. It includes pictures of the grounds of Sancuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France and the video of the Incorrupt Body of St. Bernadette Soubirous as it appears to this day.
The following YouTube video was uploaded by Wayney Peyney on March 15, 2010. It includes all the pictures ever taken of St. Bernadette Soubirous. At the very end are pictures of St. Bernadette Soubirous as she laid in rest after her death. It's a miracle, but she has been so well preserved that her face has not changed in 122 years.
COMMENTARY: When I saw the body and face of St. Bernadette Soubirous, I thought that it was nothing less than a divine miracle that even the best embalming methods would not prevent some weathering or decomposition.of a body that is 122 years old.
As it turns out, As part of the canonization process, her body was exhumed three separate times, in 1909, 1919, and finally in 1925, when she was moved to the crystal casket. Her body was pronounced by the church as officially "incorrupt," but it seems the qualifications for that term may have been somewhat lax. In the words of the attending doctor in 1919:
"The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
Today,the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous lies in that glass enclosed coffin as if Bernadette were just asleep thanks to the splendid work of Monsieur Imans. Her new wax face make her skin look smooth as silk, almost life-like, with not a single wrinkle or spotting.
Below are actual pictures of Bernadette Soubirous as a French peasant girl and as a nun at the Sisters of Notre Dame convent in Nevers, France in 1866.
Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous (7 January 1844 – 16 April 1879) was a miller's daughter born in Lourdes. From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at that site at Lourdes.
Despite initial scepticism from the Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation, and the apparition is known as Our Lady of Lourdes. Since her death, Bernadette's body has apparently remained internally incorrupt, but her body is not without blemish; during her third exhumation in 1925, the firm of Pierre Imans made light wax coverings for her face and her hands due to the discoloration that her skin has undergone. These masks were placed on her face and hands before she was moved to her crystal reliquary in June of 1925.
The shrine at Lourdes went on to become a major site for pilgrimage, attracting over five million Christian pilgrims of all denominations each year.
On 8 December 1933, she was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church; her Feast Day is celebrated on 16 April. She is considered a Christian mystic.
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood and bones with her sister Marie and a friend at the grotto of Massabielle outside Lourdes, and had her first vision. As she recounted later, while the other girls crossed the little stream in front of the grotto and walked on, Bernadette stayed behind, looking for a place to cross where she wouldn't get her stockings wet. She finally sat down in the grotto to take her shoes off in order to cross the water, and was lowering her first stocking when she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move; from the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, "came a dazzling light, and a white figure." This was the first of 18 visions of what she referred to as aquero, Gascon Occitan for "that". In later testimony, she called it "a small young lady" (uo petito damizelo). Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing.
Below are pictures of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Grotto where St. Bernadette Soubivous saw the vision of the Immaculate Conception.
In the touching 20th Century Fox film, "The Song of Bernadette" (1943), Jennifer Jones starred as Bernadette Soubirous, an adolescent peasant girl, who has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all assume it to be the virgin Mary. The film (see below video clip) is a very accurate depiction from the historical point of view of the first apparition of February 18, 1858. The film received 12 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Jennifer Jones (Best Actress), Arthur Miller (Best Cinematography), Alfred Newman (Best Musical Score) and James Basevi, William S. Darling and Thomas Little (Best Art Direction).
The film, "The Song of Bernadette" has been uploaded on YouTube in 16 parts. Below is part 1.
Below is the final part (Part 16) and I must confess that it is a tear jerker. They just don't make pictures with this quality of acting anymore.
On 14 February, after Sunday mass, Bernadette, with her sister Marie and some other girls, returned to the grotto. Bernadette knelt down immediately, saying she saw aquero again and falling into a trance. When one of the girls threw holy water at the niche, and another threw a rock from above that shattered on the ground, the apparition disappeared. Bernadette fell into a state of shock, and the girl who had thrown the rock actually thought she had killed her. On her next visit, 18 February, she said that "the vision" asked her to return to the grotto every day for a fortnight.
This period of almost daily visions came to be known as la Quinzaine sacrée, "holy fortnight." Initially, her parents, and especially her mother, were embarrassed and tried to forbid her to go; the local police commissioner called her into his office and threatened to arrest her, as did the district attorney, but since there was no evidence of fraud there was little they could do. The girl herself remained stubbornly calm and consistent during her interrogations, never changing her story or her attitude, and never claiming knowledge beyond what she said the vision told her. The supposed apparition did not identify herself until the seventeenth vision, although the townspeople who believed she was telling the truth assumed she saw the Virgin Mary. Bernadette never claimed it to be Mary, consistently using the word aquero. She described the lady as wearing a white veil, a blue girdle, and with a yellow rose on each foot — compatible with "a description of any statue of the Virgin in a village church".
Bernadette's story caused a sensation with the townspeople, who were divided in their opinions on whether or not Bernadette was telling the truth. Some believed her to have a mental illness, and demanded she be put in an asylum. She soon had a large number of people following her on her daily journey, some out of curiosity and others who firmly believed that they were witnessing a miracle.
The other contents of Bernadette's reported visions were simple, and focused on the need for prayer and penance — on 24 February, she reported that aquero had said Penitenço ... Penitenço ... Penitenço ("penance"). That day, Bernadette kissed the muddy ground of the grotto; the next day, she went further, and during her trance chewed and ate grass she plucked from the ground, rubbed mud over her face, and actually swallowed some mud, to the disgust of the many onlookers and the embarrassment of those who believed in her visions. She explained that the vision had told her "to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there," as an act of penance. To everyone's surprise, the next day the grotto was no longer muddy but clear water flowed.
At the thirteenth of the alleged apparitions, on 2 March, Bernadette told her family that the lady had said "Please go to the priests and tell them that a chapel is to be built here. Let processions come hither." Accompanied by two of her aunts, Bernadette duly went to parish priest Father Dominique Peyramale with the request. A brilliant but often roughspoken man with little belief in claims of visions and miracles, Peyramale told Bernadette that the lady must identify herself. Bernadette said that on her next visitation she repeated the priest's words to the lady, but that the lady bowed a little, smiled, and said nothing. Then Father Peyramale told Bernadette to prove that the lady was real (that is, objectively) by asking her to perform a miracle. He requested that she make the rose bush beneath the niche where she appeared to Bernadette bud and flower on the last week of February.
As Bernadette later reported to her family and to church and civil investigators, at the ninth visitation the lady told Bernadette to drink from the spring that flowed under the rock, and eat the plants that grew freely there. Although there was no known spring, and the ground was muddy, Bernadette saw the lady pointing with her finger to the spot, and said later she assumed the lady meant that the spring was underground. She did as she was told by first digging a muddy patch with her bare hands and then attempting to drink the brackish drops. She tried three times, failing each time. On the fourth try, the droplets were clearer and she drank them. She then ate some of the plants. When finally she turned to the crowd, her face was smeared with mud and no spring had been revealed. Understandably, this caused much skepticism among onlookers who shouted, "She's a fraud!" or "She's insane!" while embarrassed relatives wiped the adolescent's face clean with a handkerchief. In the next few days, however, a spring apparently began to flow from the muddy patch first dug by Bernadette. There is also a suggestion that the spring had been there previously.  Some devout people followed her example by drinking and washing in the water, which was soon reported to have healing properties.
In the 150 years since Bernadette dug up the spring, 67 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau as "inexplicable", but only after what the Church claims are "extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations" that failed to find any other explanation. The Lourdes Commission that examined Bernadette after the visions also ran an intensive analysis on the water and found that, while it had a high mineral content, it contained nothing out of the ordinary that would account for the cures attributed to it. Bernadette herself said that it was faith and prayer that cured the sick.
Her 16th claimed vision, which she stated went on for over an hour, was on 25 March. During this vision, the second of two "miracles of the candle" is reported to have occurred. Bernadette was holding a lighted candle; during the vision it burned down, and the flame was said to be in direct contact with her skin for over fifteen minutes, but she apparently showed no sign of experiencing any pain or injury. This was said to be witnessed by many people present, including the town physician, Dr. Pierre Romaine Dozous, who timed and later documented it. According to his report, there was no sign that her skin was in any way affected, so he monitored Bernadette closely but did not intervene. After her "vision" ended, the doctor said that he examined her hand but found no evidence of any burning, and that she was completely unaware of what had been happening. The doctor then said that he briefly applied a lighted candle to her hand, and she reacted immediately. It is unclear if observers other than Dozous were sufficiently close to witness if the candle was continuously in contact with Bernadette’s skin.
According to Bernadette's account, during that same visitation that she claimed, she again asked the woman her name but the lady just smiled back. She repeated the question three more times and finally heard the lady say, in Gascon Occitan,
"I am the Immaculate Conception"
(Qué soï era immaculado councepcioũ, a phonetic transcription of Que soi era immaculada concepcion).
Four years earlier, Pope Pius IX had defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; that, alone of all human beings who have ever lived (save for Jesus, Adam, and Eve), the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. Her parents, teachers, and priests all later testified that she had never previously heard the expression 'immaculate conception' from them.
Bernadette was a sickly child; she had cholera in infancy and suffered most of her life from asthma, and some of the people who interviewed her following her revelation of the visions thought her simple-minded. However, despite being rigorously interviewed by officials of both the Catholic Church and the French government, she stuck consistently to her story. Her behavior during this period is said to set the example by which all who have claimed visions and mystical experiences are now judged by Church authorities.