Religion: Outside the Walls

Top book on Roman Catholic America's monthly popularity poll is the work of a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia: Franz Werfel's The Song of Bernadette, which has sold half a million copies since its publication eight months ago. Many Roman Catholics have been amazed that anyone not of their faith could write so reverently and eloquently about the French girl, Bernadette Soubirous (1844-79), to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared 18 times telling her to spread the news that the waters of Lourdes had been endowed with miraculous healing powers.

Last week plump, 52-year-old...

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