Franciscan Hymn: Song of Bernadette by Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen

by Sister Julie Ann on February 1, 2012

Back by popular demand, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are pleased to feature once again the collaborative energies of Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen in the beautiful ‘Song of Bernadette’. It is a classic hymn of  exquisite melody and meaningful lyrics. This stream is perfect for the celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes this month of February.

Suggestion: As you listen to the ‘Song of Bernadette’,  click here and be amazed at Conrad Pickel’s stained glass depictions of Saint Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.

Comments from Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer, singer, songwriter and recording artist reflects:

I was given the name Bernadette at birth. But my siblings preferred the name “Jennifer” so my name was changed one week later. In 1979, on tour in the south of France with Leonard Cohen, I began writing a series of letters between the “Bernadette” I almost was, and “Jennifer”–two energies within me. One innocent, and the other who had fallen for the world.

The letters were just an experiment: “Dear Bernadette, I’m so lost right now.” “Hello dear Jennifer, don’t worry, I’m here, and it’s gonna be okay.”

I showed Leonard my letters to which he replied, “There’s a song in here…just start at the beginning…”There was a child named Bernadette, I heard the story long ago…and then keep going….”

So the song arose in a bus nearby Lourdes. I was admiring Bernadette’s countryside from the bus window, thinking about the great Saint who held her ground so well, and was not swayed from what she knew to be true.

But the song is also about me longing to return to a place that was more pure, honest and true. I still long for this, and I think others do too.


Conversation of Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes

You may listen to the conversation regarding Famous Blue Raincoat’s  Song of Bernadette between Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes Click here: Track 7 1:52

21 thoughts on “Franciscan Hymn: Song of Bernadette by Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen”

  1. D. says:

    I think it is cheerful…and gives one cause for faith.

  2. V. says:

    That God is with us through out our whole life.

  3. N. says:

    Music mixes with our emotions and you think about opening your heart.

  4. JM says:

    This music is a more contemporary way for God to reach out and call others.

  5. Thanks for letting us know how much this ‘Song of Bernadette’ touched you. May Saint Bernadette, intercede for you and us today and may Mary, Mother of God, appear to us in the ordinariness of our days!

  6. Jenny says:

    This is a very touching song!  Thank you for sharing!

  7. H. says:

    Love, warmth, comfort, joy, happiness, freedom

  8. B. says:

    You feel closer to God because music is easily relatable.

  9. M.M.M. says:

    God is the light to guide us where he wants us to go.

  10. Jen says:

    It is very pretty & peaceful. It makes you feel happy.

  11. S. says:

    God puts his message into a perspective that I can remember and relate to. Amazing song!

  12. Perspective…for those who like to visualize music, please listen to this amazing song with the beauty of Conrad Pickel’s stained glass images flashing before you. Be inspired by a stunning combination of creativity.

  13. B.H. says:

    Gives me hope when there is sadness or happiness in my life…

  14. D. says:

    Sometimes it is easier to relate to music and a lot of the time music is easier to understand than scripture.

  15. W.C. says:

    God uses music to touch my heart because I love music and it is much more enjoyable to listen to then someone talking.

  16. Rexann says:

    Her pain and stuggles and answering a call…were what came to me in listening to the song. I feel a healing balm placed over me, the arms of our Blessed Mother.

  17. Chelsea M. says:

    Sometimes incredible graces and acts of love are hard to believe, like the desire to enter Religious life or in St. Bernadette’s case: encountering the Queen of Heaven. Through her example and the example of St. Francis and St. Clare, I’m reminded that we are called to be the Eucharist to others, to hold those with broken hearts.

  18. Sara says:

    Faith is not a feeling. Our relationship with God is not something that requires we feel His presence each moment of each day-in fact, most of our lives we’ll pass by absent of those intense moments of faith. But, it is in the fidelity to those intense moments that our faith lives. Our Blessed Mother did not appear to Bernadette every morning for breakfast to remind her of what she saw. And it would have been easy for Bernadette to dismiss her vigor or despair that the Blessed Mother did not come, but over and over again as her life grew more difficult, Bernadette remained faithful to the beautiful moment of faith that God granted her throughout her life. It is not the vision of the Blessed Mother in St. Bernadette’s life that inspires me. It is the years of fidelity that follow when Bernadette “kept all these things in her heart” and remained close to Christ through Our Blessed Mother-though she could not see Him or her.

  19. St. Bernadette continues to inspire. Lest we look only to her or even to the Blessed Mother for meaning, this quote is clear of her own relationship with the divine: “Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but Jesus, neither things nor persons…”

  20. Scaritasmarie says:

    Humility is what Bernadette had and that is what we also are called to have! God Love you all,

  21. Simon says:

    For me, this song summarises our Holy Year of Mercy and its call to what Teilhard called “a new definition of holiness”. Saints Ignatius and Francis join hands with our Jewish and Buddhist brothers and sisters to call for “mercy, mercy in this world”. Om shanti.

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