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How the Oscar-Winning Film 'The Song of Bernadette' Made Me Burn with Love for Our Lady & Holiness

Let our hearts burn within us. 

When I was in sixth grade, my siblings and I attended a Catholic school in Milwaukee, Wis. It was a very traditional school. We attended daily Mass in Latin, and attended daily classes in both religion and Latin. In our short time there, we learned so much about our faith. 

The school, (Our Lady of the Rosary was its name) was very small and had only 20-25 students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade.

One particular afternoon, my teacher, Father Joseph, sat the entire school down in one room and rolled in a TV on a stand. Under it, there was a small VCR. He then told us that for our religious lesson that day, the entire school would watch a movie together.

Initially, I was thrilled because I loved a good movie and getting out of school work. This changed when he pushed play on the VCR and credits for a black-and-white film came up.

All the students, myself included, moaned and sighed at our anticipated boredom with this old black-and-white film. Seeing our disgust, Father Joseph reminded us that patience is a virtue and that we shouldn’t underestimate things – including old black-and-white movies.

So, we all relented and watched the film.

The movie was the 1943 drama, “The Song of Bernadette,” about a young girl from France named Bernadette. It took only a few minutes of watching it for all of us to become completely enthralled.

When the movie ended, I found myself crying my eyes out. I then looked to find all of my siblings–my three sisters, including Kathleen, who was in kindergarten, and my brother, who was in first grade–crying their eyes out too.

Although very young, we all saw the beauty of innocence and holiness in Bernadette. It moved us in such a profound way– so much so that my sisters and I took Bernadette as a confirmation patron!

If you haven’t seen the film, I encourage you to see it. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Here’s a trailer for “The Song of Bernadette” below:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

The most beautiful and endearing thing about Bernadette was her innocence, her willingness to suffer, and her utter lack of malice. She’s beautiful. So beautiful that a bunch of little kids saw it and were moved by it.

I want to share a few things that little Bernadette said in her life. I admit, when I read these words, I’m reminded of the story of the walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus in Saint Luke’s Gospel. In this particular passage, after the breaking of the bread, (the Mass) the two disciples realized that Jesus was walking with them.

They said their hearts burned within them when He spoke (Luke 24:13-35). This “burning of the heart” is an undeserved grace that God has given me. It happens at Mass, while I pray the Divine Office, or while I read about saints or their writings. I am so edified by the holiness of God, Our Lady, and the saints. What a grace!

Here are a few quotes from Saint Bernadette that I pray will cause all of our hearts to burn:

1) “I must die to myself continually and accept trials without complaining. I work, I suffer and I love with no other witness than his heart. Anyone who is not prepared to suffer all for the Beloved and to do his will in all things is not worthy of the sweet name of Friend, for here below, Love without suffering does not exist.” 2) “The Blessed Virgin used me like a broom. What do you do with a broom when you have finished sweeping? You put it back in its place, behind the door!”3) When asked if Our Lady was beautiful, she said, “Oh! Oh! Yes indeed! And even more than that! So lovely that, when you have seen her once, you would willingly die to see her again!”4) “I shall do everything for Heaven, my true home.”5) “From this moment on, anything concerning me is no longer of any interest to me. I must belong entirely to God and God alone. Never to myself.” 

As Saint Bernadette said above, heaven is our true home. I can’t wait to get there. May we all be given the grace for our hearts to burn for it– to burn for Jesus.

Saint Bernadette, pray for us!

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