St. Bernadette Soubirous, who was favored with seeing Our Lady at Lourdes, France, grew up in extreme poverty. Her home was a dungeon-like former prison. Some of the people in town were so poor that they had almost nothing to eat:
“One day [Mlle Estrade relates] I was saying my prayers about two o’clock in the afternoon in front of Our Lady’s altar in the parish church; I thought I was alone until I heard some chairs move. I turned round and caught sight of a child of five or six years in very poor clothes. His face was pleasing but quite emaciated, showing plainly that the child was under-nourished. I resumed my prayers, and the child continued his maneuvers. With a very sharp ‘Hush’ I ordered him to keep quiet. The child tried hard, but in spite of all the precautions he took to avoid making a noise, he did not succeed. I watched him closely and noticed that he was bending down and scraping the flagstones and then putting his hand in his mouth. He was actually eating the wax which had fallen from the candles during a funeral service.
‘Is that wax you’re eating?’ I asked him.
He nodded his head.
‘You must be very hungry!... Wouldn’t you rather eat something else?’
Several nods of the head again gave me the answer ‘Yes.’.
I left the church at once with the poor child, now my friend. For quite a long time at my invitation he came very day to visit us, and was like a boarder.” (Abbe Francois Trochu, St. Bernadette Soubirous, Tan Books, pp. 20-21)
Let’s be thankful for what we have, and say an extra prayer for the conversion of some sinner headed for eternal hunger in Hell.
“Bernadette divided her time as her fancy dictated between work, play and saying her rosary. The latter was a cheap twopenny rosary, with black beads threaded on a string, which her mother had given her. Her pleasures were as simple as her soul.” (Abbe Francois Trochu, St. Bernadette Soubirous, p. 29)