St. Bernadette, A Holy Life- In Conversation with Patricia McEachern – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

St. Bernadette, A Holy Life- In Conversation with Patricia McEachern

Patricia McEachern, an associate professor of French at Drew University in Missouri, discusses her book “A Holy Life: The Writings of St. Bernadette of Lourdes” with Bruce and Kris McGregor. Patricia shares her fascination with St. Bernadette and her journey from being introduced to St. Bernadette through a movie to translating her letters and spiritual notebook. She shares personal experiences, including her visit to Lourdes, which ultimately led to her conversion to Catholicism.

“St. Bernadette, A Holy Life” shows readers St. Bernadette’s remarkable character beyond her portrayal in films, highlighting her humility, courage, and devotion to her vocation. Patricia also sheds light on Bernadette’s suffering, her family relationships, and her unwavering faith, revealing a deeper understanding of St. Bernadette’s life beyond the famous apparitions and her enduring impact as a role model for holiness.

You can find the book here.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Bernadette’s Humanity: How does Patricia McEachern’s discussion of St. Bernadette’s life reveal her humanity beyond her portrayal in films and popular culture?
  2. Bernadette’s Devotion: What aspects of St. Bernadette’s devotion to her vocation and faith stand out to you?
  3. Bernadette’s Suffering: In what ways did St. Bernadette endure suffering, both physically and emotionally, and how did she find meaning in it?
  4. Bernadette’s Spiritual Growth: How did St. Bernadette’s spiritual journey evolve throughout her life, especially beyond the famous apparitions at Lourdes?
  5. Bernadette’s Impact: Reflect on the impact of St. Bernadette’s life and writings as discussed by Patricia McEachern, particularly in terms of her role as a model for holiness.
  6. Personal Conversion: Patricia mentions her own conversion to Catholicism after visiting Lourdes. How do personal experiences, like hers, shape our understanding and connection to saints like St. Bernadette?
  7. Spiritual Lessons: Consider the spiritual lessons and insights gained from Bernadette’s writings, as highlighted by Patricia. How might these lessons apply to your own spiritual journey?

From the book’s description:

“While the story of the apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes in 1858 are well known, relatively few people are familiar with the saint’s own spiritual insights and profound holiness. For the first time in English, this book presents a wide selection of St. Bernadette’s thoughts, advice, sayings, and prayers through the touching words of her spiritual diary, notes, and letters to friends and family.
After receiving the visions of Our Lady at the grotto in Lourdes, Bernadette eventually became a religious sister as a member of the Sisters of Charity. She lived a life of simplicity, charity, suffering and deep holiness, dying at the age of 35. When she was canonized a saint, her body was found to be incorrupt.

In these beautiful writings of St. Bernadette, we learn the secrets of her holiness and happiness. Though she suffered greatly throughout her life, the heroic response of this humble, self-effacing nun transformed excruciating suffering into spiritual fruitfulness. Her letters and writings serve as a model for others passing through their own trials. Her writings reveal and intimate and profound love for God and neighbor. Anyone pursuing a deeper spiritual life will appreciate knowing Bernadette as she truly was, and the inspiring spiritual works of wisdom she offers to us all.”

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