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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

     Sunday, September 26 2004 

Frank Charney. Click for profile.Saint Bernadette

On the Turner Classic Movies I recently saw an old religious movie, The Song of Bernadette, which I hadn’t seen for a while. It is perhaps one of the best religious films ever made. The movie was released in late 1943, and it made the leading actress, Jennifer Jones, an immediate star for which she was awarded the 1943 Oscar. I recall seeing the release of this movie with my mother at a special afternoon matinee held at the Capitol Theater.

Jennifer Jones had her first film role in this movie, and I was surprised to learn that she was married and had two children at the time she played this role. She was married to Robert Walker, who died at an early age.

The story of Bernadette is about a poor French peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, who sees a vision of a “beautiful lady’ (played by the beautiful actress, Linda Darnell, who got no credits in the movie) in a cave near her town of Lourdes, which today is a great religious shrine. This sighting, and succeeding ones, immediately causes a lot of excitement thoughout France and neighboring countries. The state tries to prove that Bernadette was suffering from hysteria and the Catholic Church at first descredited these sightings. After observing the innocence and sincerity of Bernadette, the Church begins to add credence to her story. Also to solidify Bernadette's claims there were many reported cases of people being miraculously cured of illnesses and deformities from the spring waters of Massabielle, the name of the grotto where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette.

Great performances are turned in by the supporting movie cast. In one of his finest acting roles, Vincent Price is the atheistic prosecutor who tries to stop Bernadette’s “miracle,” but finally is converted into a religious believer. It is fortunate for him, since he was waging a losing battle against throat cancer. Charles Bickford is the strongwilled, righteous Catholic dean who scorns Bernadette at first but finally supports her against the attacks of the civil authorities. Gladys Cooper plays the excellent role of the harsh nun, jealous of Bernadette and the special privilege granted her in seeing the “beautiful lady.” Upon seeing the dreadful illness of tuberculosis that Bernadette endured without complaint, the vindictive nun begged God’s forgiveness and sought penance after that by taking personal care of Bernadette’s every need.

When asked who the name of the lady was who appeared to her, Bernadette referred to her as the “Immaculate Conception.” The first vision at Lourdes appeared in 1858. It was in 1854 that Pope Pius the IX proclaimed the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Catholic belief the Blessed Virgin Mary did not carry the stain of original sin from her first moment of conception. All other human beings carry original sin which was inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve, for their disobedience to God. Could an almost illiterate peasant girl like Bernadette know about a doctrine like the Immaculate Conception?

The movie will forever carry an inspiring message of faith. St. Bernadette was born in 1844 and died in 1879 at the age of 36. in a convent 300 miles from Lourdes, away from the public who always sought to question her about her visions. In 1933, she was canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church. Her miraculous, incorruptible body lies in state in a glass case. (See Saint Bernadette website at Lourdes where she is today revered by religious visitors from worldwide.)

— Frank Charney 



Two cows standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."

"I don't believe you," said Dolly.

"It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Daisy."

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz  

Thought for today

When praying, don't give God instructions; just report for duty.

Sent by Trudy Myers

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