Here’s how this week’s arts and culture column begins:

Advent is about the light shining in darkness. Lent is about the human condition.

The message delivered by our contemporary world is: You can have it all. You can have things your way. You can outwit death by engineering your life.

That cross marked on our foreheads last Wednesday delivers a very different message: Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Feb. 11 was the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and as Lent approached I thought to watch the old black-and-white movie, “The Song of Bernadette” (1943). Based on the popular Franz Werfel novel, the film stars a surprisingly affecting Jennifer Jones in the title role.

Never mind that Bernadette is 14 as the story begins and Jones was 24, with the kind of perfectly sculpted eyebrows, clear skin, and well-kept hands unlikely to have been found among the 19th-century French peasantry. 



  1. What a beautiful piece and a reminder that love, in contrast to the ways of the world, doesn’t flow in an inward direction, but always outward to and for others. Thanks, Heather.

  2. Mr. Bradley says: Reply

    While St. Bernadette did not ‘enjoy’ suffering, per se, she spoke of it as ‘my job.’ She knew this is what she had to offer as her daily cross in following Christ. May we all be as good a witness during our journey to eternity.

  3. Beautiful. Thank you.

  4. This moved me. Thank you.

  5. Could watch that movie over and over. I love how the mean old nun is carrying Bernadette around at the end. The last will be first.

  6. Phillip Aller says: Reply

    Excellent Heather. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  7. HEATHER KING says: Reply

    A thousand thanks, all…I had watched a clip of the movie several weeks before and it happened to be the scene where Berndadette says “The spring is not for me.” Instantly the phrase branded itself on my brain and I knew I would write a column on it for Lent. So I saved watchging the whole thing till a couple of weeks ago. In some ways it’s fairly hokey but Jennifer Jones was actually beautifully cast, and Bernadette’s suffering and cross forcefully came through…I’m glad it did for you all, too–Blessed First Sunday of Lent!

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