Question for SAINT BERNADETTE experts

Hi everyone! I have a question for anyone who has read extensively about St. Bernadette’s life as a Nun.

She has always been one of my favourite saints, and I’ve been to Lourdes twice. However, last weekend, I watched the 1989 film ‘The Passion of Bernadette’, which claims to follow the historical record - there are a couple of frankly disgusting scenes in the middle of the film which show her being tempted after attending to a bare-bodied young wounded soldier!!

So my question is, is there really any record in the written accounts of St. Bernadette that she ever found herself tempted thus after seeing a young soldier, while performing her hospital duties as a Nun??

This goes against everything I have believed about St. Bernadette for at least one and a half decades. Please only respond if you can confirm whether or not those temptation scenes are based on recorded fact - I am not interested in hearing about whether she MIGHT PLAUSIBLY have been tempted; only in actual testimony from either her or someone else who wrote about her life as a Nun.

She is one of my patrons, and my conversion began at the grotto. But, no dramatic production is completely true. First, doubt the accuracy of mass media. Having said that: Even our Lord was tempted! Certainly no one less than He is immune from temptation. I think that your question should be rephrased: “What was her response to temptation?” That is what makes a Saint.

But Our Lord was not tempted with any sexual thoughts.

I know that a number of high profile saints HAVE been tempted with sexual thoughts, such as Francis of Assisi, who is supposed to have thrown himself into a rose bush (???) in the belief that the thorns would expunge his temptation to be unchaste.

However, at the expense of being criticized, I would much rather pray to a Saint who has no record of being tempted with any sexual thoughts. Look at Saint Joan of Arc for example - who spent day and night in the company of soldiers, and was NEVER said to have been tempted that way. :slight_smile: Nor was she tempted that way while she was in prison, guarded by men. :slight_smile: Talk about Sanctity!!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I think lust is the most base and disgusting of all the deadly sins, because it is what differentiates us from Our Lord the most. He was tempted to eat while fasting, He was tempted to be King of the material world, He was tempted to test His Heavenly Father - these temptations may be said to represent the sins of gluttony, greed, and pride. The sins of envy, anger, and sloth too are human appropriations of certain Divine attributes - such as God calling Himself a “Jealous God” (rightfully so in His Case), God punishing and destroying unrepentant sinners in his Righteous Anger, and God resting on the Seventh Day in the Book of Genesis. NOWHERE in Scripture however, can the sin of Lust be seen as a perversion of an attribute of God - or as a temptation that Our Lord had to face - it is a wholly human condition, and thus the most obviously ungodly of all temptations.


Resisting the temptations that the Lord allows us to have helps us to grow spiritually.

The kinds of temptations others have are often different that the kinds we have.

If someone is tempted to the lust of the flesh, the Lord also provides the means to resist.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the person tempted is lustful to begin with. And, even if it did then the resisting person grows spiritually, or he/she may be helping to fight someone else’s battle. (In my last sentence I am particularly thinking about those who are contemplatives whether in monasteries or not.

So? He was tempted with far worse! What sort of temptation do you suppose the evil one would place before a celibate religious sister? Political power? Drugs? Alcohol? Gambling?

Out temptations are placed before us according to what the evil one believes are our weaknesses. The stronger the faith, the stronger the temptation. In Saint Bernadette’s case, he was once again wrong.

Once Marie-Bernade Soubirous entered the convent at Nevers, she had extremely limited outside contact. Her work in the “hospital” was strictly as infirmarian in the clinic for the sisters inside the convent walls. Later on, because of her health (bone tuberculosis, asthma, probably obstructive pulmonary disease), she was not physically fit for even the routine work of the convent. She was sacristan of the chapel, and she was a glorified laundress/nurse’s aid for the sisters. Her order was not a nursing order; it was a teaching order. Even when she was seen by the bishop for inquiries regarding Lourdes, it was inside the convent walls. She never worked in a combat hospital.

That being said, before she retired to the convent she had a close-quarters life in small spaces in a family with brothers. She knew what the human body looked like.

Film makers have to take liberties because paying audiences aren’t willing to accept the notion of chastity. According to her notebooks, Bernadette’s greatest temptations ran quite a different direction–being snide, for example, or telling her true feelings about someone even though it wasn’t charitable.

Your best single-volume book in English about Bernadette is “Bernadette of Lourdes: A Life Based On Authenticated Documents,” by Rene Laurentin (Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1979). Translated from the original French by John Drury for the Bernadette centennial, the volume contains many quotations in Bernadette’s own words. In November 1870 she wrote, “They say that the enemy is approaching Nevers. I could do without seeing the Prussians, but I am not afraid of them. God is everywhere, even among the Prussians.” That sentiment is as close as the war ever got to the convent.

Her advice with men was similar. She had worked in a cabaret when she was younger. “When you are in a room with men, make sure that the door is always open.” Different times, different standards. Thank you for posting.

Temptation does not equal sin. The Devil tempts (? sorry, not native speaker) us, and the sin is to fall for the temptation and indulge. Therefore, I would personally much rather pray to Saint who was heavily tempted and stood firm, than the one who was not tempted. Of course, this is hypothetical, as everyone has been tempted. And I am positive even our Lord, even though it is not specifically mentioned in the Scripture (similar to e.g. Him crawling when He was an Infant - I would assume He crawled before He walked; so something not being said in the Scripture does not warrant such event not happening). One reason is that Jesus was fully human, the difference is He has not sinned (but could have been tempted, as he was in the documented cases)

Temptation does NOT equal sin, even venial sin.

Your statement regarding a “record of being tempted with any sexual thoughts” is confusing in that you are ok with saints who may have had sexual thoughts as long as there is no record of it? Are saints who may have been married somehow less of a saint? I would assume many saints who were married would have had sexual thoughts about their spouse. St Peter was a married man.

Temptation is normal, we all are tempted at times, but how we deal with temptation is the key.

I fail to see how one could be tempted sexually at the same time as seeing gory medical things.
Probably just Hollywood nonsense.

Slightly ajar. Sorry. Jesus allowed Himself to be tempted by Satan in the Desert - this is why the account is called ‘The Temptation of Christ’ and not 'Some of the temptations…

Our Lady was not tempted but no doubt had natural inclinations (survival instincts) to put her Son’s safety first before His Divine Mission, which she did not do, in faith and obedience, and so, in terms of temptation, is different again, from saints, who indeed were able to fight temptation, and this would be ONE of the reasons they are Saints, not the only reason.

Temptation is not tempting unless we are tempted, and tempted away from something ordered; therefore, ALL sin is directly related to Original SIN. The point though, is that because humanity is fallen, we are not directly responsible for how our brains are sometimes wired - we can have feelings without knowing why we had them - and we are also in the firing line of Satan. Therefore, we only say that we have sinned venially or mortally, because we have responded to a tempting thought, either in mind or in physical action, in response to our fallen nature or one put there by Satan and his workaholic infantry. The ideal is to become pure of heart with the help of grace so that how we see others is as God sees them.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin:


Doesn’t change the point in fact.

I think the question is how can the “was in points tempted…yet without sin” and “God (and Christ is God) cannot be tempted, neither tempteth He any man” verses be both true simultainiously.

Not understanding here. Please clarify a bit. Did I intimate that He did not allow himself to be tempted? :confused:

This is new to me. A little elaboration, if you would be so kind. Does not lack of temptation indicate a lack of free will?

What do you mean when you say that someone resisting the temptation of lust could be helping to fight someone else’s battle?

I mean those who pray and surrender their lives to God and offer themselves for the conversion of sinners.
Depending on the capacity that the Lord gave them, their offerings of their sufferings (including the temptations they resist) help to obtain graces for others.

And, now that I have said that, I remember what our Lady of Fatima said and asked of us! Soon we are to celebrate the Centenial of Our Lady of Fatima. How much we need to hear that message again!

She asked for the penance of our daily duties (do our ordinary things with love) and for much prayer, especially the Rosary, to aid in the conversion of sinners, (and for our own sanctification of course).

Any one of us, no matter where we are in our prayer lives, can do that and increase the grace in the Body of Christ, the Church.

May the Merciful Heart of Jesus bless us, ,


po18guy, you said: “… Even our Lord was tempted!..” This read as if you were putting the Lord’s temptations on the level of a non-Divine person, by using a comparison. However, you did also use the word “immune”.

The other subject you are referring to would take us into pages of writing and so cannot comment, only to ask: Does temptation and sin make us free? No. Sin is enslavement, and involves the dimming of the intellect, which makes it harder to make free choices.

The subject of ‘temptation’, specifically, is to be linked with Satan. Satan cannot tempt Heaven, cannot tempt immaculate purity, but is soley, by means of the Fall from Heaven, existing to tempt humanity, and because humanity is fallen, this only happens through Original Sin and its left over scars - after the Fall of Adam and Eve. Think about when Jesus said that all things begin in the heart. Also, through where does the channel of grace flow from Heaven? Think “Divine Motherhood”. Temptation is not just any choice, but a choice to specifically rebel. All these things have to be considered when pondering upon this subject.

If one is perfectly pure, The Tempter has to be given permission, to tempt!

There is a subject started on here to do with predestination and brings to mind Our Lady.

Out of respect for the OP’s thread, I will desist. If you wish to take this up with me in another thread or via PMing then please do. :slight_smile:

OP: I could not find anything to do with St. Bernadette being tempted by a “wounded soldier” when looking on Google. But I will further my search. I do have the book about her life, so will look in there at some point.

Sorry you perceived it that way. Whatever the reason, or permission, the Holy Spirit lead (even: drove) our Lord into the desert where He was tempted. I doubt that the Father said, “Oooops, didn’t see that one coming!” If the God/man can be tempted, someone outside of the hypostatic union certainly can be, correct? “Have you considered my servant Job?” comes to mind. Trying not to complicate this, but only to help the OP to understand that Saints are not exempt from/immune to/above temptation. I cannot recall a case in which a Saint was not mightily tempted.

This entire line of inquiry being based on a commercial dramatic production which was likely not entirely accurate.

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