Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes

I was in our Catholic bookstore the other day looking for a book about St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes  that I could read to my daughter.  I planned to pick up a copy of Father Lovasik's classic Our Lady of Lourdes, but the store was out of them.  Instead, I ran across a wonderful picture book written by Sophie Maraval-Hutin titled Bernadette:  The Little Girl from Lourdes.

Published in 2010 by Ignatius Press and Magnificat, this delightful book will find a permanent place on our bookshelf!  I love its simple, watercolor-type illustrations.  The story, presented from a young girl's point of view, enchanted my eight-year-old daughter. That's no small feat since my daughter seldom sits still for more than five minutes. Yet this book, which has many words on its 32 pages, kept her still and interested for more than 30 minutes.  I tried to stop half way through the book but she begged me to continue!

It starts out in a beautiful storybook fashion:

"Perhaps you have already heard about Lourdes, a little town in the French Pyrenees Mountains famous all over the world. Thousands of Christians go there every year to pray. Sick people from all countries come in the hope of being cured.  And yet, a hundred and fifty years ago, Lourdes was a very little village, and Bernadette, the one who started it all, was just a very simple girl of fourteen.  This is her story..."

How can anyone put down a book with a beginning like that?

The book describes how Bernadette, while picking up branches to burn in her family's fireplace, experienced her first vision of a beautiful girl wearing a white veil and dress with a blue sash. It gives insight to the feelings a young girl might have if something like this would happen to her, which is why I think the book resonated with my daughter.  The story shows how Bernadette suffered through the anger of her parents, the disbelief of the villagers and the ridicule of the local judge.  Bernadette is a wonderful role model for girls because she remains calm despite the reactions of others. In addition, her faith in the "beautiful lady" is unwavering and steadfast even when everyone else doubts her and thinks she has gone mad.

The last two pages briefly describe her life after the apparitions ended in 1858 and how she later became a nun who devoted her life to caring for the sick before falling ill to tuberculosis. It then describes how she was declared a saint in 1933 and gently describes the incorrupt state of her body.  ("...her body has remainded untouched by death--Bernadette looks as if she is sleeping.")  I think this is a wonderful way to describe this miracle to children.
You can find out more about this book by clicking below:

No comments:

Post a Comment