The Village of St. Bernadette: the Missing Verse

Two rather strongly Marian songs made the top ten over the years — back in the 1950s and 1960s. The second, “The Village of St. Bernadette,” was made famous in the United States by a version sung by Andy Williams.

I was never all that impressed with the song. There’s hardly any content to it. A pilgrim was impressed with visiting Lourdes, mentions a “feeling divine” while at the grotto and whispers a prayer. The content seems to be based on a feeling.

Recently I purchased an alternative 45 of the song, which was written by Eula Parker, a British musician. In this alternative sung by Toni Arden, there is an extra verse that makes the song complete and worthy of note. Here is the verse:

Down to the grotto,
I followed in song
Pilgrims all weary
From journeys so long
Rich and the poor,
The strong and the lame,
Thousands all praising the sweet Lady’s name.

Immediately, without a chorus, she continues with the verse used in Andy William’s version.

There, like a dream, this wonderful night
I gazed at the grotto aglow in the light
A feeling divine swept over me there
I fell to my knees as I whispered the prayer
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria

The missing verse completes the song for me. It synthesizes a trip to Lourdes beautifully.

Thoughts on the Beatification of Chiara Luce Badano

Although I was not able to go, I’m glad that two Marians went to the beatification. I watched the Internet feed, and I could tell there are graces coming from this that are spreading all over the world. There are many factors, but for me one of the main ones is “relatability.” People can relate to Bl. Chiara on a variety of levels. The “proximity” in time is area I relate to . She was one grade behind me in school. The relatability creates a certain approachability. The fact of her being beatified by the Church gives credibility and also shows her capability in interceding.

That seems plenty to reflect on for a while.
Also, here’s an article from Fr. Joe Roesch, M.I.C., who attended the beatification: A Model of Mercy is Beatified

The Quiet Return

I’ve seen others comment on this, and it does seem to be the case as far as I can tell also. It’s a little after the third anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, and one can almost trace an increase in vocations to that time. There was an increase after the death of Pope John Paul II, but the more recent increase is even stronger.

Also, some people are quietly returning to the practice of the Catholic faith. Some are being attracted by the “new” signs of renewal caused by the increase in the practice of the Extraordinary Form.

There’s no radical change, but Summorum Pontificum didn’t produce a radical change either. It just opened up new possibilities. It was not “turning around the altar,” but rather giving the “new” possibility of “turning around.”

Various Catholic LPs

Vinyl Records in our collection, and how obscure they are:

Gregorian Chant Masses sung by the Benedictine Monks of St. John’s Abbey, Gerard Farrell, O.S.B., director
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN EMC-63-1520/1521
found in 30 libraries on WorldCat
1 used for sale at Amazon

St. Norbert Abbey Choir
Canons Regular of Premontre
De Pere, Wisconsin
Rev. Robert W. Olson, O. Praem, cantor
LP XTV-85098/9
1 reference on the Internet
found in no libraries on WorldCat
(very obscure)
This includes recording of works by Fr. Robert Sromovsky, O.Praem.

Hail Holy Queen: Selections from the Liturgy of Our Lady
sung by The Trappist Monks of Gethsemani
Columbia ML 5205
found in 35 libraries on WorldCat
I found no copies currently for sale online, but some clips of songs on Youtube.

Hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary – James Swittel
(10 inch version – DL 5420)
I found one copy for sale at GEMM.
Found in no libraries on WorldCat
(The 12″ LP is in the Marian Library at Dayton, OH, however but not cataloged. There is also a very rare set of 78s of this.)

Hymns to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – James Swittel
(10 inch – DL 5476)
Found for sale on Ebay.
Found in 2 libraries on WorldCat

The Holy Saturday Exultet and Sacred Polyphony
Immaculate Conception Seminary Schola
Gregorian Institute of America DS-1
Found in 2 libraries on WorldCat
No copies found for sale anywhere.

Priest Chants at the Altar
Rev. John Selner and Joseph Brennan
Gregorian Institute of America ACLP-1
Found in 1 library on WorldCat (in Los Angeles)

Sing to Mary: Selected Hymns in Honor of Mary
Catholic University of America Chorus
under the direction of John Paul
Catholic Recordings – Catholic Distributors, Inc.
Found in no libraries on WorldCat
(There is a copy in the Marian Library in Dayton, OH)

Ave Maria – Jessica Dragonette, Soprano
LP 2357 – St. Anthony’s Guild
Found in 7 libraries on WorldCat
One copy for sale on GEMM.

The Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Meinrad Chancel Choir
St. Meinrad Recordings HO8L-1380/1
Found in 4 libraries on WorldCat
Found for sale.

I’ll post more of these soon.

Chiara Luce Badano to be beatified September 25, 2010

She is to be beatified in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love (Rome) Saturday, September 25, at 4 P.M. The Mass will be presided by Archbishop Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation of Causes of Saints.

There will be a youth celebration that evening at 8:30 P.M. in the Paul VI Auditorium.

A solemn Mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated September 26 by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

Deo Gratias! Te Deum laudamus.

Royal Road of the Holy Cross

A book of meditations for the Stations of the Cross has this as part of the meditation for the 3rd station:

“Where are those first infant steps when Mary guided Him on the road of life?

He walked, wee little one, budding fruit of Mary’s womb, and often He fell.

But at that time they were falls of that weakness which is ours, which He wanted to assume; the falls of the child who learns that the roads upon which men walk are not easy roads.

Now again it is a human fall, but under an excessive weight.

And Mary, who smiled in the long ago, today feels her heart within her crushed beneath that same weight.”
Robin, Royal Road of the Holy Cross, 7

Solemn Vigil Mass for Life in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Mark Barron, MIC, provides this image. A picture is worth a thousand words. This is always the most packed Mass of the year at the Basilica, and this doesn’t show half the people attending. In the side chapels and downstairs there are many, many more people watching the Mass on TVs.

Speaking of TV, there will be no mention of this on regular network news. Apparently, they aren’t interested in this sort of thing. It’s as if the pro-life movement barely exists…


Chiara Luce Badano to be Beatified!

Although it is not certain when, I feel that young people all over the world should know that someone who would be younger than me if she were still alive is going to be BEATIFIED. The story of Chiara Luce Badano is very ordinary and yet extremely exceptional. Look at these dates:

Chiara Luce Badano – born October 29, 1971
Died of bone cancer – October 7, 1990
Cause for beatification opened – June 11, 1999
Diocesean Inquiry closed – August 21, 2000
Declared Venerable – July 3, 2008
Miracle Approved – December 9, 2009
Beatification – sometime this year

Now, a photo, of Venerable Chiara
Chiara Luce Badano

I’m not going to explain her story here. You’ll have to do some more searching on your own to find out why she is noted for sanctity.

UPDATE. Ok, I’ll help a little: Some Information

If you know Italian, listen to her parents talk about her on this TV program: A Sua Immagine

May 1853 – Problems in the World – Sound Familiar?

An excerpt from The Metropolitan – May 1853, pg. 179 and following, from an article about “The Love of Mary.”

In its bearings on Christian faith and worship, then, we cherish the love of Mary, and are anxious to see devotion to her increased. But we are also anxious to see it increase, as the best preservative against the moral dangers of our epoch. Mary is the mother of chaste love, and chaste love is that which in our age is most rare. The predominating sin of our times is that of impurity, at once the cause and the effect of the modem sentimental philosophy. All the popular literature of the day is unchaste and impure, and it boldly denounces marriage as slavery and demands that loose reins be given to the passions. Catholic morality is scouted as impracticable and absurd; law is regarded as fallen into desuetude; intellect is derided; reason is looked upon as superfluous, if not tyrannical; and the heart is extolled as the representative of God on earth. Feeling is honored as the voice of the Most High, and whatever tends to restrain or control it is held to be a direct violation of the will of our Creator. Hence passion is deified, and nothing is held to be sacred but our transitory feelings. Hence every where we find an impatience of restraint, a loud and indignant protest against all rule or measure in our affections and all those usages and customs of past times intended as safeguards of manners and morals, and a universal demand for liberty, which simply means unbounded license to follow our impure or perverted instincts, and to indulge our most turbulent and unchaste passions, without shame or remorse.

The sentimental philosophy taught by that impure citizen of Calvin’s city of Geneva, Jean Jacques Rousseau, in his Confessions and Nouvelle Heloise, and which is popularized by such writers as Goethe, George Sand, Eugene Sue, Thomas Carlyle, Theodore Parker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and, to some extent, Bulwer Lytton, consecrating corrupt concupiscence, has effected an almost universal dissolution of manners and deprivation of morals. All bonds are loosened, and the very existence of society is threatened by the fearful and unrelenting warfare waged upon the family as constituted by Catholic morality. The terrible revolutions which for the last sixty or seventy years have shaken society to its foundations, and which have been repressed and are held in check for the moment only by the strong arm of arbitrary power, are only the outward manifestations of the still more terrible revolutions which have been going on in the interior of man; and the anarchy which reigns in society is only the natural expression of the anarchy that reigns in the bosom of the individual. In the non-Catholic world, and even in nominally Catholic countries, impurity has gained a powerful ascendancy, and seeks to proclaim itself as law, and to denounce whatever is hostile to it as repugnant to the rights both of God and man. Chastity is denounced as a vice, as a crime against nature, and the unrestrained indulgence of the senses is dignified with the name of virtue, nay, is denominated religious worship, and we may also fear that fornication and adultery may again be imposed as religious rites, as they were in ancient Babylon and other cities of the East.

The last, perhaps the only, remedy for this fearful state of things, is to besought in promoting and extending [devotion to] Mary. Society is lapsing, if it has not already lapsed, into the state in which Christianity found it some eighteen hundred years ago, and a new conversion of the Gentiles has become necessary. Christian society can be restored only by the same faith and worship which originally created it. Jesus and Mary are now, as then, the only hope of the world, and their power and their goodness will remain undiminished. The love of Mary as Mother of God redeemed the pagan world from its horrible corruptions, introduced and sustained the Christian family, and secured the fruits of the sacrament of marriage. It will do no less for our modem world, if cultivated; and we regard as one of the favorable signs that better times are at hand, the increasing devotion to Mary. This increasing devotion is marked throughout the whole Catholic world, as is manifest from the intense interest that is felt in the probable approaching definition of the question of the Immaculate Conception. Nowhere is the change in regard to devotion to Mary as the Mother of God more striking, than among the Catholics of Great Britain and of our own country. This devotion is peculiarly Catholic, and any increase of it is an indication of reviving life and fervor among Catholics; and if Catholics had only the life and fervor they should have, the whole world would soon bow in humble reverence at the foot of the cross. It is owing to our deadness, our lack of zeal, our lack of true fervor in our devotions, that so many nations and such multitudes of souls are still held in the chains of darkness, under the dominion of Satan.

There are two ways in which the love and service of Mary will contribute to redeem society and restore Christian purity, — the one the natural influence of such love and service on the heart of her devotees, and the other the graces which in requital she obtains from her Son and bestows upon her clients. Mary is the mother of chaste love.

Marians in Training

I can’t really say we are experiencing a shortage in vocations in the U.S. Mother of Mercy Province of the Marians. We have 7 novices and 4 postulants. Our Washington, D.C. house is going to be completely full if this sort of thing keeps up.

We have generous benefactors for our seminarian program, but the bills continue to pile up with more and more seminarians. We definitely need support.

A photo can say more than I would be able to. Still, keep in mind that this photo does not show all the seminarians. There are some missing. I’m not in this photo either. I don’t know exactly when it was taken.



I was recently in the southwest (El Paso and a bit north in New Mexico), and had a genuine experience of Advent. I stayed at a place that had practically no Christmas decorations, and there was no radio or TV to distract me. It was ideal conditions to experience Advent. Advent is all about looking towards something that hasn’t happned yet. It’s hard to do with all the Christmas decorations around – they try to make the feast day irrelevant, but is it the day that is really the only thing that is relevant. Christmas, in the end, cannot be celebrated until Christmas.

The Usual

It’s wonderful to recognize opportunities that God gives us to grow in virtue, but usually those opportunities are not what we were looking for. The ultimate goal of every person is…. happiness (Aristotle figured it out long ago). Now, how to reach it? If you try the direct approach (wealth, power), you will be sadly disapointed in the end. The tried and true method is virtue, and the most important virtues (faith, hope, and charity) are given supernaturally–they cannot be obtained by simply practicing virtue. Still, they involve practicing virtue. Growing in virtue is not, per se, “fun.” Nonetheless, this is the “usual” path to holiness.

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

However, at this point, I think Christmas is an October to December thing. Maybe it’s even a September to December thing. August?

Does Advent have any meaning anymore? What exactly are we waiting for?


Does anybody remember that Advent is not just a remembrance of the first coming of Christ, but a waiting for the second coming?

Anyone…. anyone….