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

by Sister Julie Ann on February 1, 2017

Some songs are timeless. 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’. Franciscan Sister Pamela Catherine and Megan Lourdes GrottoIt is a classic hymn of  exquisite melody and meaningful lyrics. It is perfect for the celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes this month of February.Our Lady of Lourdes at Motherhouse

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.


Purchase music here:

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 14.

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

  1. Sister Pamela Catherine says:

    Saint Bernadette is a beautiful example of simplicity and humility. She faced much criticism over the visions she was receiving, yet, the joy and love she must have experienced in speaking and praying with our Blessed Mother was what she held onto. This is such a good message for all of us who face our own trails, our own “falls and rises” in life. Yet joy and love can continue to move us forward. The more we give of ourselves, holding others in prayer and in love, the less we focus on our own troubles and the more our hearts are filled with an unexplainable joy, a joy that must have been the song within Bernadette.

  2. Sister Delores Wisnicky says:

    The author is right on- in our world, we fall, we run, hearts are torn. We try to mend the damages we have done. There are sorrows to hold, sorrows to be healed. We can help heal our broken world. We can bring mercy to the people we meet. We can remind people we are loved by God, no matter what we have done. Our God loves us so much. Mary, the Queen of Heaven helps bridge the gap, we feel. She draws us closer and closer to her son. The melody of the song is very healing. May we live the message of Bernadette as we hold our world in love and mercy.

  3. Postulant Megan says:

    Listening to the The Song of Bernadette is a beautiful way to prepare for the upcoming Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. May God allow us to see those who are in need of healing in our lives, and inspire us to do what we can to lead them closer to our Blessed Mother like Bernadette did.

  4. Wow. What an interesting backstory that spawned this song and what a collaboration. Two wonderful artists in sympathetic resonance. Jennifer, you have a beautiful voice that soothes the anxious heart.

  5. Sister Theresa says:

    I first heard this song sung by Anne Murray and I’ve always liked it. Hearing the background for it makes it even more meaningful. St. Bernadette is a beautiful example for our world today about having the courage to remain faithful to God and what He asks of us, as well as the powerful influence that Mary can have in our lives.

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