Ruth Harris PDF Lourdes Body and Spirit in the Secular Age

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Uence of Lourdes on the Catholic Church and its faith from Bernadette Soubirous's 1858 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 by religious fervor in modern society

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Lourdes Body and Spirit in the Secular Age

An in depth history of the world's most famous healing shrine traces the dramatic infl 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 decide if Bernadette Soubirous actually saw the Virgin Mary at what became the pilgrimage center However she is drawn to the young girl and her experience particularly admiring the way in which the 14 year old uneducated Bernadette dealt 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 does not gloss over the shameful tradition of anti Semitism that permeated 19th and 20th century French Catholicism along with legitimist politics But she demonstrates 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 definition 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 discussion of the role that women played both within and without the development of the pilgrimage site Moreover Harris provides a much broader understanding as to the definition of cure as it was only in the 1880s that these became subject to medical verification She aptly points out that by allowing the existence of a Medical Examination Board the Church surrendered part of her power to scienceBernadette herself removed rather uickly from the Lourdes phenomenon as she left her home village in 1865 never to return Prior to the entrance into a convent at Nevers Bernadette had been separated from her village for long stretches of time limited in the contact allowed with her family She died young after an uneventful afterlife as a nun perfectly willing to speak about the apparitions if asked but never bringing them up herself It was in the interests of the Church to focus the pilgrims upon the Virgin herself rather than the visionary and Bernadette contrary to the behaviors of others in similar positions that Harris 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 I did 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 despite 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

SUMMARY Lourdes Body and Spirit in the Secular Age

Visions of the Virgin Mary to his evolution into an important pilgrimage site Reprint An impressively thorough and unbiased work


10 thoughts on “Lourdes Body and Spirit in the Secular Age

  1. says:

    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 poss

  2. says:

    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

  3. says:

    Harris also puts Lourdes in the context of French political history and notes how pilgrimages increased after France’s defeat in the Franco Prussian war of 1870 71 Now people came to the shrine not just to pray for themsel

  4. says:

    Ruth Harris started off as a sceptic about the miracles of Lourdes but she brings out the constancy of Bernadette's witness in the face of enormous pressure Harris describes the political and social context and brings out some disturbing links

  5. says:

    I did not give up on this though I was tempted now and then The narrative puts the happenings at Lourdes into the religious and political cont

  6. says:

    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 by religious fervor in modern society

  7. says:

    An impressively thorough and unbiased work

  8. says:

    I was specifically interested in the pre Christian folklore of the region especially in relation to the connection between existing animistic c

  9. says:

    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 does a really great job presenting information in a non biased way and p

  10. says:

    An interesting socio political historical account to the famous Marian Shrine

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