Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the day we began the Bard School. I was struck, (after looking through the many websites and articles on Lourdes and the Immaculate Conception of Mary), by this intense and penetrating gaze of Bernadette, the 14 year old peasant girl from a village in France that no one had heard of.
We see so many faces of women gazing out of magazine articles every day. What do their eyes reveal, I often ask?
And what is this gaze, from eyes that have beheld perfect purity, and retained their own simplicity and wholehearted determination to be true to what they have seen?
When I was 15 I first heard about Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes and a few days later I was confirmed and chose her name as my confirmation name. I wasn’t at all fond of the name itself, I have to admit, and had to breathe in once or twice before choosing it, but it was what she represented that appealed to me; I had to have it!
It’s only as the decades go by, I realise how much I need what she stood for.
Her gaze takes you beyond herself. Her message doesn’t lead you to her, but towards the Person who has been revealed to her.
As artists we could do worse than follow her lead.
Happy Feast Day!