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En The narrative puts the happenings at Lourdes into the religious and political context of 19th Century France And Maybe That France and maybe that the net a bit wider than I had expected Sturdy and thorough yet it never crossed the threshold into an enjoyable read for me I was specifically interested in the pre Christian folklore of the region especially in relation to the connection between existing animistic customs and fairiesThe second half of the book is uite ry but less of an interest to me Fascinating and well written Harris is an agnostic Jew interesting factoid Franz Werfel who wrote The Song of Bernadette was also Jewish and is a Fellow of New College Oxford She flatly states that it is not possible to ecide if Bernadette Soubirous actually saw the Virgin Mary at

"what became the "
became the center However she is rawn to the young girl and her experience particularly admiring the way in which the 14 year old uneducated Bernadette ealt with the aftermath of her apparitionsHarris takes the reader from the initial visions in 1858 to the eve of World War I She examines the role of the Church hierarchy Imperial and Republican France peasant piety and Pyreneean traditions in the formation of the shrine Harris oes not gloss over the shameful tradition of anti Semitism that permeated 19th and 20th century French Catholicism along with legitimist politics But she emonstrates that the uglier side of religion was subsumed at Lourdes into the experience of aiding the sick People united across social classes to ferry the maladies from the trains to feed them to bathe them to care for their physical and spiritual needs Harris also examines the physical effects of suffering upon self efinition She is especially interesting here as she tends to reject the late 19th century rational explanation of the cures as simply the power of suggestion There is also a substantial iscussion of the role that women played both within and wit. Uence of Lourdes on the Catholic Church and its faith from Bernadette Soubirous's 1858. The Escape (Hendersons Boys, describes seems to have been than content with that outcome Harris also contrasts the figure of Bernadette poor ignorant not French she and her vision spoke using a patois peculiar to the region with the bourgeois Therese Martin ie St Therese of Lisieux Iid wonder why the figure of Joan of Arc also an uneducated French shepherdess never really came up in the book These three girls are the great saints of FranceHarris ends her book though with this sentence For espite the attempts by some to romanticize by others to politicize and by still to medicalize throughout the history of Lourdes there has always remained one fixed point the essential image of a young poverty stricken and sickly girl kneeling in ecstasy in a muddy grotto Ruth Harris started off as a sceptic about the miracles of Lourdes but she brings out the constancy of Bernadett An impressively thorough and unbiased work An interesting socio political historical account to the famous Marian Shrine. Visions of the Virgin Mary to his evolution into an important pilgrimage site Reprint. ,
Harris also puts Lourdes in the context of political history and how pilgrimages increased France s efeat in the Franco Prussian war of 1870 71 people came to the shrine not just to pray for themselves Okay so I had to read this for grad school but I was really moved by it recommended for the formerly catholic or those bemused for the formerly Catholic or those bemused religious fervor in modern society This is a very interesting read for someone like myself who grew up Catholic and is now simultaneously interested in Catholic history and French history Harris Range does a really great job pre Ms Harris tells the story of the wonderous events in the small town of Lourdes and relates them to the history of France in the second half of the 19th Century Her approach is to tell the story of the events through the lives of the people involved Too so she uotes from letters and Besorah Of Yahusha Natsarim Version diaries as well as official records In order to write in suchepth she must have read everything ever written The Dauntless (Spy Girl Book 5) during this period about Lourdes Between the Notes and the Bibliography at the end of the book is a three page Dramatis Personae listing all the major people associated with the shrine Not just for Catholics the bookevotes many pages to the role of women in 19th Century France and will be of great interest to anyone wanting to know about women s rights in France It is also a must read for people interested in French social history She also looks into the relationaship of anti Semitism to the Catholic piety of the time People are never presented two Color of Jazz dimensionally to represent the ideals or concepts they championed Ms Harris treats the people she writes about with respect and intelligence As for Bernadette s vision and the miracles she tells what is known and she knows a lot and the reactions they caused without taking a stand one way or the other herself Truly a great work of historical writing Iid not give up on this though I was tempted now and th. An in Christmas Countdown depth history of the world's most famous healing shrine traces theramatic infl. .

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Lourdes Body and Spirit in the Secular Age