Birthplace of Bernadette: Boly Mill at Lourdes
For ten years, the Boly Mill, whose name comes from the old owner, was the birthplace and the serenity of Bernadette, where the saint lived with his parents, brothers and sister, as well as with his grandmother, uncles, and cousins.
The images, tell the people of Lourdes in 1850, its civil society, military, religious and simple people, represented by millers, quarrymen, farmers and laborers of all kinds.
The two families who lived at Boly Mill were Castérot, millers and masters, and Soubirous, millers but also their simple workers.
A love marriage united the two families, Francois loved Louise, despite the age difference, it was supposed to marry her older sister Bernarde, a romance to last despite adversity.
It was a great Christian family where he prayed, where tempers were open to the next and where you gave to the poor needy.
On the first floor is the room where Bernadette was born January 7, 1844. The baby girl was baptized two days later on January 9, the anniversary of the marriage of the parents.
In another room, the pictures testify family life led to the Mill, celebrations and mourning, in addition to work, at meals and constant prayer.
On the ground floor there is a kitchen, a common room multipurpose, where he lived during the day and in the evening we prayed.
This is the Mill as he met Bernadette, the water of the stream Lapacca put in motion the heavy millstones.
Bernadette spent here the first ten years of his life, in the simple happiness of a family that lived in faith and love. The mother and father Francois Soubirous and Louise Castérot, had a love marriage, consecrated by the sacrament of January 9, 1843.
In this climate of great tenderness, Bernadette found the source of that strength and psychological equilibrium that gave it the courage to face the difficult times of his life.
For ten years the family Soubirous experienced a certain comfort, but from 1853 onwards began the great economic difficulties.
The competition of steam mills, the drought in the region and the great generosity to the poor, in addition to the inability to claim the balance of accounts from those who did not pay, they put in danger the family business.
In the spring of 1854, no longer able to pay the rent, the Soubirous were forced to leave the mill of happiness and look for one for which it was requested a lower rent.
In 1855 cholera, in just five weeks, killed 38 people in Lourdes, Bernadette also was hit by the epidemic, which caused a debilitating asthma.
In 1856 the famine raged throughout the region and why the government decided to distribute free flour.
For the father of Bernadette arrived failure, the need to seek employment elsewhere and often unemployment. Even the mother was forced to go to work out, after the death of two of his children still small. During this time Bernadette was a waitress in a tavern and did not, for that reason, the opportunity to attend school and catechism.
In 1857 the family found itself no longer able to pay rent and took refuge in the old free city jail, where, on 27 March of the same year, Francois Soubirous was arrested and put in prison, unjustly accused of stealing flour.
In the month of November 1857 Bernadette was hired as a maid in a farm Bartres, where he remained until January 1858, three weeks before the Marian apparitions.
Bernadette had the strength to overcome these difficulties thanks to strong union family, where love prevailed on unforeseen created by destiny.