Loading
A window into St. Bernadette, CNA speaks to film star, Sydney Penny

.- On February 11th, Ignatius Press will host a nationwide re-release of the classic film, The Passion of Bernadette, which is based on the later life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a young girl, to whom Mary repeatedly appeared in Lourdes, France. 

The film, originally released in 1989 is a sequel to the 1988 Movie “Bernadette”, which garnered considerable acclaim from the Vatican and today, plays continually for pilgrims in the church in Lourdes.

The sequel follows St. Bernadette’s life after she entered the convent in Nevers, France, where she lived until succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of 35.

Recently, CNA spoke to actress Sydney Penny, who currently stars on the soap opera “All My Children” and has appeared in numerous television and film roles, about portraying young Bernadette in both films and about the role she thinks this famous Saint still plays in today’s world. 

CNA: You were 15 during the filming of Bernadette and 18 during the Passion of Bernadette. What was it like for you portraying such an intense story at such a young age?

PENNY: I was very fortunate to have Jean Delannoy as a director. He really understood Bernadette, and telling her story correctly was a passion for him. He guided me through, and it felt effortless, all I had to do was try to understand the character. When the writing is good and the directing is good, it’s effortless.

CNA: Most people (even Catholics) have only vaguely heard of Lourdes, if at all. As a non-Catholic, did you know much about the story of Bernadette prior to filming?

PENNY: The closest association I had was that a Catholic friend of mine growing up went to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, but I never thought anything about it.

I think that not really knowing much about Bernadette gave me fresh eyes. I was just trying to portray her life--not that of a Saint specifically. What we tried to portray was just the human person. She was really just a simple girl, and considered herself a stupid girl. I think this simplicity made her accessible to everyone.

The role was so different from what I was doing at the time. I was on the beach in California filming the new Gidget movie…I had no clue until I got to Lourdes what an important person this was. And it wasn’t until the premier that I really started to understand the importance of this. 

CNA: After she entered the convent in Nevers, France, Bernadette developed tuberculosis and was given difficult, menial tasks to perform, which she did with great suffering. What was it like trying to portray the intense pain and suffering that she experienced in her later life?

PENNY: It was very hard. I felt so deeply for her because she had such difficulties. But despite, she was able to find something positive--even delightful--in every part of her life. There’s a strange psychosomatic thing that happens when you play a character like that. She was much older than I was, so they aged me…and I wore this heavy wool wrapping around my knee which honestly made me feel old. It was very difficult.

I visited the convent in Nevers during the fall when it was cold and damp and I couldn’t help but think of Bernadette and her tuberculosis performing the most medial tasks there, cleaning the latrine…This poor woman doing these menial tasks…just amazing.

CNA: Many would say that our culture is going through a profoundly dark time right now. How do you think the story of Bernadette can offer hope in today’s world?

PENNY:  We all have choices in every minute and we’re all presented with difficulties--big and small. For some, it’s family, for some it’s work…not to mention the huge, world political struggles that we all feel a part of.

But Bernadette had this simple truthful nature, this fantastic code of honesty and simplicity. I think her common sense approach to life and suffering is one that we can all learn from. We can try to change the world, but will we always succeed? Not necessarily. Really, all we can do is lead by example. That’s what Christ did, and that’s, I think, what Bernadette has to show us today.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
20

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Gospel
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35

Homily
Date
04/20/14
04/19/14
04/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: