Yesterday, I was up at the butt-crack of dawn to watch the moon set. It was mild in the morning and the sky was clear. Through the redwoods I saw an almost full moon, twice as large begin to dip below the coastal range. It was quietly beautiful. I didn’t have my camera so you will have to take my word for it. Speaking of moon sets…Have you ever been to Lourdes? We have, a number of years ago. The town wasn’t much, just lots of touristy stuff for sale, like the Madonna Soap-On-a-Rope or Mary Breath Mints. You know stuff that become heirlooms for the family after you’ve gone. Well as you probably know by now, this year marks the 155th anniversary of the appearances of Mary to Bernadette Soubirous. Did you know that on this date in 1858 Mary is reported to have made her 10th appearance to the peasant girl. Now keep all this in mind because the next part of the story will definitely be on a test.
Franz Werfel was a Jewish playwright and novelist who was born in Prague (now part of the Czech Republic) in 1890. During the rise of Nazism he wrote satirical plays about the Nazis in the late 1930s. When the Nazis annexed Austria where he was living, he and his wife fled to France. When the Nazis invaded France in 1940, the Werfels tried to flee to Spain but ended up in a small border town called Lourdes. It was while hiding out in Lourdes that he heard the story of Bernadette.
Things got a little dicey for the Werfel family and Franz was worried not only about his family’s safety but his French host family as well. So…he made a vow that if he and his family survived the war he would “sing” the song of Bernadette.
Franz and his family was eventually able to escape to the United States and in 1941, he published his book “The Song of Bernadette.” And the rest, they say, is history. He died in L.A. in 1945 and was buried with Christian rituals. He was later re-buried in Vienna. Cool story though.
So there we are with a good story on this Tuesday, the second week of Lent.
and so it goes…