Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age PDF/EPUB

Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age PDF/EPUB 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 appa 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 apparitions.Harris 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 science.Bernadette herself removed rather quickly 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 beenthan 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, i.e 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 France.Harris ends her book, though, with this sentence For, despite the attempts by some to romanticize, by others to politicize and bystill 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 Bernadette s witness in the face of enormous pressure Harris describes the political and social context and brings out some disturbing links between Catholicism and anti semitism.Well written and very informative. Salut les Francais Vous devez absolument lire ce livre qui demontre clairement que les historiens anglophones comprenent mieux l histoire de la France que les historiens francais Le cote positive du medaille, c est que les anglais semblent mieux aimer la France que vos propres erudits.Mme Harris est une juive mecreente qui approuve entierement le phenomene Lourdes Elle pose la question A quoi sert une religion qui ne s occupent pas des malades Elle est pleine de louanges pour St Bernadett Salut les Francais Vous devez absolument lire ce livre qui demontre clairement que les historiens anglophones comprenent mieux l histoire de la France que les historiens francais Le cote positive du medaille, c est que les anglais semblent mieux aimer la France que vos propres erudits.Mme Harris est une juive mecreente qui approuve entierement le phenomene Lourdes Elle pose la question A quoi sert une religion qui ne s occupent pas des malades Elle est pleine de louanges pour St Bernadette et pour les gens de Lourdes qui generation apres generation donne un acceuil tres chaleureux aux pelerins.Dans Lourdes Mme Harris decrit le contexte social et historique de l apparition de la vierge au Grotte celebre Elle raconte la lutte a l interieure de l Eglise pour le controle du lieu Finallement, elle fait un analyse brilliante du debat auquel Zola, Veuillot, Huysmans et d autres grands ecrivains de l eqoque ont participe.Ce livre est fortement recommande 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 themselves, but for their nation as a whole The number of sick people making the pilgrimage increased once the trains began traveling to Lourdes The easier it was to make the journey, theoften people who were suffering physical pain decided to go See my full review here ht 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 themselves, but for their nation as a whole The number of sick people making the pilgrimage increased once the trains began traveling to Lourdes The easier it was to make the journey, theoften people who were suffering physical pain decided to go See my full review here 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 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 context of 19th century France and maybe that cast the net a bit wider than I had expected Sturdy and thorough, yet it never crossed the threshold into an enjoyable read for me. Innear the tiny French town of Lourdes, a young peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous witnessed the Virgin Mary in a grotto Since then Lourdes has become the most visited shrine in the world, hosting nearly five million pilgrims each year Historian Ruth Harris traces this shrine s incredible development, placing Lourdes at the center of nineteenth century debates on religion, science, and medicine that still continue today She examines the pivotal role of women and children as visionaries, devotees, and advocates, addressing issues of mysticism and nonorthodox faith that speak to our own era of spirituality Above all, she explores how, at a moment in French history when the Catholic Church was under attack, this place of pilgrimage improbably prospered An impressively thorough and unbiased work. I was specifically interested in the pre Christian folklore of the region, especially in relation to the connection between existing animistic customs and fairies.The second half of the book is quite dry but less of an interest to me. An interesting socio political historical account to the famous Marian Shrine.

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