The Song of Bernadette
This is the classic work that tells the true story surrounding the miraculous visions of St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France in 1858. Werfel, a highly respected anti-Nazi writer from Vienna, became a Jewish refugee who barely escaped death in...
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This is the classic work that tells the true story surrounding the miraculous visions of St. Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France in 1858. Werfel, a highly respected anti-Nazi writer from Vienna, became a Jewish refugee who barely escaped death in 1940, and wrote this moving story to fulfill a promise he made to God. While hiding in the little village of Lourdes, Werfel felt the Nazi noose tightening, and realizing that he and his wife might well be caught and executed, he made a promise to God to write about the song of Bernadette that he had been inspired by during his clandestine stay in Lourdes. Though Werfel was Jewish, he was so deeply impressed by both Bernadette and the happenings at Lourdes, that his writing has a profound sense of Catholic understanding.
Born in Prague of Jewish parents, Werfel served in World War I, then lived and wrote in Vienna until driven out by the Nazi occupation of Austria. And the Bridge Was Love: Memories of a Lifetime, by his wife, Alma Werfel, in collaboration with E. B. Ashton, is a deeply personal autobiography of a remarkable life in Vienna by the woman who was also married to the composer-conductor Mahler and the architect Gropius. Werfel escaped to the United States after the fall of France in 1940, where he won international recognition for his fiction. The most popular of Werfel's works was the novel The Song of Bernadette (1942), recounting the miraculous vision of the Virgin Mary granted to the young girl who founded Lourdes. Werfel said he wrote the story in honor of his "miraculous" escape from the Nazis but neither affirmed nor denied the miracle at Lourdes. Werfel also wrote lyrical poetry and drama. His comedy Jacobowsky and the Colonel (1944) was successfully produced in New York in 1944. In 1967 the Hamburg Opera presented Giselher Klebe's operatic version of the play at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.