Church member and professional conductor and composer Rhonda Kess has written a musical based on the story of St. Bernadette of Lourdes that will have its world premiere this week at St. Finbar Church.
The production, “Lost and Found — The Trial of St. Bernadette,” is a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting youth activities, like retreats, sports programs, filmmaking projects, book groups and others that provide positive influences, Kess said.
While it is based on a religious story and produced in a church, Kess said, one need not be Catholic to enjoy the production. Set in modern times, the story has a modern spin and accessible score.
“The music is Lerner and Loewe meets Puccini,” Kess said.
Bernadette Soubirous was born in 1844 in Lourdes, France. At 14, her visions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto met skepticism from city officials. Her holy assignments were to encourage pilgrimages to the area, discover the healing waters there and urge religious leaders to build a chapel. Millions of people still flock to Lourdes today to partake in the springs and attend the basilica, Kess said. Bernadette was canonized as a saint in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.