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The Premiere of The Passion of Bernadette: February 10th-12th |

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Why would the pope’s publisher take the plunge into the movie business?

Because the movie biz isn’t just for Hollywood anymore, as Protestants, Orthodox Jews, and Catholics are branching out to different venues and different distribution channels to bring movies of faith to the faithful.

With a national premiere of The Passion of Bernadette (official website) set for the upcoming weekend of February 10-12th, centered around the February 11th Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ignatius Press Marketing Director Anthony J. Ryan is excited about the opportunity to offer this film to the public. The film is an accurate, sometimes sad, sometimes funny depiction of the life of St. Bernadette, after the Blessed Mother appeared to her at Lourdes.

Ryan says the longtime book publisher decided a national premiere was a great way to let the world know about "a marvelous movie with a great story. More and more people of faith are saying–we don’t have to rely on Hollywood or the movie moguls of the entertainment business to get high quality films out to the public."

Most recently, the latest Left Behind movie was first shown at Protestant church and hall venues while the Orthodox Jewish movie Shizpin was offered at specially rented theaters so Orthodox men and women could attend but sit apart as their religion directs.

Ignatius Press is one of the largest Catholic book publishers in the U.S. and the primary English language publisher of the works of Pope Benedict XVI. The premiere will be shown at more than sixty locations around the U.S. and Canada, including eight colleges: University of Dallas, Gonzaga University, Thomas Aquinas College, Ave Maria University, Madonna University, Christendom College, Franciscan University at Steubenville, and Redeemer Pacific College in British Columbia, Canada.

Directed by French filmmaker Jean Delannoy, The Passion of Bernadette tells the story of the impoverished fifteen-year-old girl who saw the Lady in White at Lourdes in 1858–but tells the little known tale of the years after St. Bernadette Soubirous entered the convent at Nevers, France, where she lived until her death at thirty-five.

This is the sequel to the first movie, Bernadette,also directed by Delannoy and also starring Sydney Penny, now shown daily at the shrine at Lourdes, France, and praised by the Vatican for its accurate depiction of events.

Delannoy tells the story of Bernadette with the eye of a filmmaker for a story–not as an advocate for the faith. Delannoy is Protestant. Yet, because Delannoy’s aim is to accurately tell the story of Bernadette–and he does it well–the film’s portrait of St. Bernadette and her faith is perhaps even more powerful. Always a sickly, asthmatic child, Bernadette left her family behind for the convent where she constantly battled life-threatening bouts of illness under the eye of a skeptical mother superior who didn’t believe her visions.

"I am certain that the life and death of St. Bernadette will forever hold a profound significance for all people," said Delannoy. "We live in a time of violence, apparent in men’s souls as well as in political events, and even in global catastrophes. It is comforting that we can refer to these two films which represent a commandment against war and racial discrimination."

"You will love this film–perhaps even more than the first movie, Bernadette. Why? Because it's the nitty, gritty, day to day story of how Bernadette achieved sanctity in the ordinary details of life," says Ryan.

The Passion of Bernadette
offers "a deeper portrait of who she was in terms of how she related to people on a daily basis, outside of the noise of her celebrity," says actress Penny. "You really see what a passion she had for life. I think the word passion has a double sense–it, of course, refers to the culmination of her life, but it also refers to what she loved in life, how she loved life, how she clung to life."

The Official "Bernadette" and "The Passion of Bernadette" website
Showtimes and venues for "The Passion of Bernadette"
The Relevance of Holiness | Patricia A. McEachern, Ph.D. | The Introduction to A Holy Life: St. Bernadette of Lourdes
Forty-Four Hours in Lourdes | Stephen Sparrow

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