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Innocent Ecstasy, Updated EditionHow Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure$
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Peter Gardella

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190609405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190609405.001.0001

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The Song of Bernadette

The Song of Bernadette

(p.91) 6 The Song of Bernadette
Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition

Peter Gardella

Oxford University Press

Catholics also revered ecstatic women. In 1944, the Academy Award for Best Actress went to Jennifer Jones for playing St. Bernadette of Lourdes in The Song of Bernadette, a film that won four Oscars and was nominated for seven more, including Best Picture. Bernadette was canonized in 1933 for her role in the visions of Mary at Lourdes in 1858. Those visions formed part of a series of Marian appearances, beginning in Paris in 1830, in which very young women saw the Virgin. Mary appeared young and beautiful, and she called herself the Immaculate Conception. That meant Mary was conceived in sex, but without original sin. Many Protestant Americans, including Isaac Hecker, whose vision of Mary led him to become Catholic and found the Paulist Fathers, and Henry Adams, who praised the medieval and modern Virgin in Mont-Saint Michel and Chartres (1905), testified to the new power of Mary.

Keywords:   ecstatic, Bernadette, Lourdes, visions, Virgin, Immaculate Conception, original sin, sex, Mary

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