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Fourteen year old Bernadette Soubirous was the poorest of the poor. Her father was unemployed, having been pushed out of his job as modern advances made his profession obsolete. The entire family of six existed in the single room that had years ago been abandoned as unfit for the village’s jailhouse. The stench of the town’s overflowing sewage was overpowering, but the family was literally destitute, and at least had a room together where they could huddle around the fireplace. Bernadette had been sick much of her entire life, with her asthma resulting in chronic respiratory disease. Malnutrition, the cold weather, and lack of medical care was taking its daily toll on her. She had missed more days of school than she had attended, and as such could barely read, the homely girl was labeled “simple” by her teachers, and teased as “stupid” by her classmates. She was poor white trash of her day.
The story would feel uncomfortably…
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