The parish began with the purchase on May 27, 1944 of five acres that included the present-day Grotto. First Mass was celebrated there by founding pastor Fr. Claude Nevin on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Within five months, acreage had increased to approximately 65 acres. Early support came from the Mater Ecclesia [music] Society, a great interest of Fr. Nevin, and also from several Price Hill Catholics, who owned weekend retreats at nearby Locust Lake. Also in 1944, three Sisters of Charity began the parish school in two rooms of a farmhouse, adjacent to which was added the “temporary” church; the latter was built by Francis Stievenard and completed also in 1944. “St. Bernadette” was chosen as our patroness possibly in honor of Francis’ sister Bernadette, or (more likely) because of Fr. Nevin’s great devotion to the Virgin Mary. (He made a pilgrimage to Lourdes France, returning with a “barrel” of healing water, and had the Grotto built  after having successfully prayed to Mary for good festival weather.)
Despite early and persistent financial difficulties, facilities were modernized and expanded. The Parish Dining Hall, for example, once also served as the school bus garage. In 1956, under the capable leadership of Fr. Bernard Piening, a brick six-room school was added to the farmhouse. Fr. Francis Buddelmeier (1958-1965) led the construction of the Convent (now Pre-School/pastor’s residence) and Rectory (now offices/meeting space. Made possible by a major bequest by John Ventura (died 1994), Ventura Hall (gym and multi-use space) opened in 1996; for some thirteen years Sunday Eucharist was celebrated in that unglamorous setting.
In 2000, enrollment had expanded beyond school capacity; six modular classrooms were purchased with a significant Archdiocesan loan. Subsequent school difficulties (long ago resolved!) led to a loss of both school and parish participation, further challenging parish finances.
2002 saw a major fund drive to replace the aging and cramped “temporary” mission church. Although some $600,000.00 was raised, permission (and loan) to build was denied because of the parish’s unstable financial situation.
In 2008, members again responded generously in a final attempt to build the desperately needed new church. Fervent petitions that began in 1944 culminated in a weekly, parish-wide prayer during 2007-2008; in November 2008 parishioners made a pilgrimage to Lourdes France and prayed to Bernadette, our patroness. Later that month, permission to build was granted, followed by a large anonymous gift. On November 22, 2009 the new St. Bernadette Church—entirely paid for—was dedicated by Archbishop Pilarczyk. A miracle had unfolded, and continues to inspire our parish.