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Lourdes   By: (1871-1914)

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Lourdes, written by Robert Hugh Benson, is a fascinating novel that takes readers on a profound journey of faith, healing, and devotion. Set in the holy town of Lourdes in southwestern France, the story revolves around its protagonist, Bernard, a young Englishman seeking solace and spiritual enlightenment.

The narrative begins with Bernard's initial skepticism towards the miracles attributed to the famous Marian apparitions and the healing waters of Lourdes. This skepticism, however, quickly evolves into intrigue and a burning desire to investigate and understand the supernatural phenomena occurring there. As Bernard delves deeper into the mysticism surrounding Lourdes, the readers are taken along on a captivating exploration of faith and the power of belief.

One of the novel's strongest aspects is Benson's ability to vividly describe the physical and spiritual landscapes of Lourdes. His writing effortlessly transports readers to the bustling streets, the serene Grotto, and the sacred basilicas, allowing them to experience the sights, sounds, and emotions associated with this renowned pilgrimage site.

Benson's character development is also noteworthy. Through his protagonist Bernard, Benson presents a relatable and multi-dimensional individual who undergoes a remarkable transformation throughout the story. Bernard's journey from skepticism to a profound spiritual awakening is authentically portrayed, rendering him a character with whom readers can empathize and cheer for.

Moreover, Benson skillfully weaves in various subplots and supporting characters, each representing different aspects of human experiences and beliefs. These side narratives add depth and complexity to the story, highlighting the diversity of motivations and struggles faced by those who come to Lourdes seeking solace or healing.

The exploration of faith and doubt is at the heart of Lourdes, and Benson presents a nuanced portrayal of these themes. Through Bernard's journey, readers are encouraged to question their own beliefs, ponder the existence of the divine, and contemplate the power of personal experiences. Benson's sensitive handling of these themes avoids heavy-handedness and instead fosters thought-provoking discussions on spirituality and the human condition.

In addition to its spiritual depth, Lourdes also offers a suspenseful and engaging plot. The interplay between the supernatural occurrences, personal narratives, and Bernard's investigation creates a compelling narrative flow that keeps readers eager to uncover the truth behind the miracles.

Overall, Lourdes showcases Robert Hugh Benson's literary prowess in combining mystery, spirituality, and a deep exploration of faith. With its well-drawn characters, atmospheric descriptions, and thought-provoking themes, this novel offers readers a captivating journey that goes beyond the boundaries of religious fiction.

First Page:

LOURDES

BY

THE VERY REV. MONSIGNOR ROBERT HUGH BENSON

WITH EIGHT FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

ST. LOUIS MO.: B. HERDER, PUBLISHER 17, S. BROADWAY

LONDON: MANRESA PRESS ROEHAMPTON, S.W.

1914

Nihil Obstat:

S. GEORGIUS KIERAN HYLAND, S.T.D., CENSOR DEPUTATUS

Imprimatur:

GULIELMUS F. BROWN, VICARIUS GENERALIS, SOUTHWARCENSI.

15 Maii, 1914.

PREFACE.

Since writing the following pages six years ago, I have had the privilege of meeting a famous French scientist to whom we owe one of the greatest discoveries of recent years who has made a special study of Lourdes and its phenomena, and of hearing him comment upon what takes place there. He is, himself, at present, not a practising Catholic; and this fact lends peculiar interest to his opinions. His conclusions, so far as he has formulated them, are as follows:

(1) That no scientific hypothesis up to the present accounts satisfactorily for the phenomena. Upon his saying this to me I breathed the word "suggestion"; and his answer was to laugh in my face, and to tell me, practically, that this is the most ludicrous hypothesis of all.

(2) That, so far as he can see, the one thing necessary for such cures as he himself has witnessed or verified, is the atmosphere of prayer... Continue reading book >>




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