And now…Bernadette! And Adele!

Father James Martin graciously permits Patheos to excerpt a chapter of his wonderful book My Life With the Saints so that we can get to know St. Bernadette Soubirous, the unschooled French visionary who made the acquaintance of the Immaculate Conception: “In the Grotto of Massabieille”

On a Friday evening during my first year as a Jesuit novice I wandered into the TV room to see what video was being served up. Television watching was a popular pastime for novices still on a $35.00 monthly stipend. In typical Jesuit style, our TV room consisted of fifteen individual recliners lined up in front of a large television, an admittedly strange setup that once prompted my brother-in-law to ask if we took a vow against sofas, too. “What’s on?” I said.

“The Song of Bernadette,” said one, glancing up from the TV.

“What’s it about?” I asked. Everyone else looked up from their chairs, apparently aghast.

“You’re kidding, right?” said another novice. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

It’s a wonderful read.

And if you don’t already own My Life With the Saints, you will love it. It would also make a great Christmas gift! A cup of Jingle Bell Java, and a good read, what’s not to love?

UPDATE: And now, Adele! A Wisconsin Apparition is Declared “Worthy of Belief”

“I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful.”

Today’s declaration makes Our Lady of Good Help at Champion the first and only site in the United States of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Mutnodjmet

    Anchoress: I am glad I have the opportunity to share this story with you. You recommended “My Life with the Saints” when I was exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic. In fact, it contained the first Catholic prayer that I recited:

    “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down. Something’s lost that can’t be found.”

    I am an absent-minded scientist, so I say that one more than the “Hail, Mary”. In fact, for Christmas, I bought a St. Anthony of Padua carved in Olive Wood from the Holy Land (from a charity art sale at my Parish). I figured I called upon St. Anthony so much, I should make him comfortable!

    Thanks for all you do.

  • Mary Christine

    I have given that book to several of my friends who have left the church. They loved the book, and I have to hope it will help lead them back.

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  • Andrew H

    Seems to be quite a popular read as it got a score of 4.21 on (check the reviews here)

    Thanks for posting this, it was interesting to look into. =)

    Mendocino County Architect

  • Gail F

    It’s a great book, I’ve read it twice and really enjoyed it. But the book about St. Bernadette he mentions is a Freudfest, absolutely hilarious if you have a sense of humor and a dictionary, but otherwise not recommended. My favorite bit was something about Bernadette subconsciously completing the union of earth and sky with her body — or something like that. Craziness!

  • Mooga

    Fr. Jim writes:

    “Later representations, including those in The Song of Bernadette, typically misrepresent Bernadette’s testimony by depicting the vision as a mature woman.)”

    And how! For the role of the heavenly apparition, the studio chose Linda Darnell, who was considered something of a sex kitten, and had posed for some widely circulated cheesecake pictures. The choice infuriated Franz Werfel, whose novel, Das Lied von Bernadette, had formed the basis for the script. He threatened to yank the rights to his work unless Darnell were replaced. The studio kept Darnell, but struck her name from the credits. To disguise her, the director wrapped her in an extra layer of fabric. This served a double purpose, since Darnel was pregnant at the time, and this was supposed to be Massabielle, not Tepeyac.

  • Jeff

    I thought all Bernadette said was that she was a “lady” dressed in white? Did she talk about her age?

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  • Jeff

    This sounds very authentic, Mary quoting Jesus:

    At this point, the other women broke in. One asked, “Adele, who is it?” The other wept and asked, “Oh, why can’t we see her as you do?”
    Adele answered, “Kneel! The lady says she is the Queen of Heaven!”

    Adele reported that at this point, Mary turned to the other women, looked kindly at them, and said, “Blessed are they that believe without seeing.” (Which ought to be a comfort for those many people who wear themselves out with wanting to see signs and wonders.)

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