Friday 1 December 2023


 Hello there!

Welcome to my last WEP entry. What's that? 

As many at the IWSG have been involved with WEP over the years I'm placing this information before my WEP entry which is below if you'd like to read it and call it my IWSG post. 

I'm not insecure about closing down WEP; I think the team has done a great job, been selfless in the interests of our writers for such a long time. But all good things must come to an end, even something as good as WEP.

This is our final WEP challenge, as after 13 years, WEP is closing down.

 This is partly due to the stressors on the team which have been relentless since Covid and are ongoing, and partly because of the drop in the number of participants this year.  We know many WEP members are experiencing their own stressors in the form of health challenges in themselves or family members which impacts their writing time.

 After much consideration, the WEP team concluded that this is the time to finish. Not exactly on a high, but not exactly at the bottom of our game.

 For thirteen years we have been a light for many struggling with their writing life, and many of you credit WEP with the improvement in your writing and confidence when submitting your work to publishers. This is what WEP set out to do and we can be happy in that we achieved the supportive writing community we set out to create. I know we could have done better in some areas, but due to time constraints we could not follow every avenue we would have liked.

 Thank you to all who have visited our website over the years and offered us words of encouragement and thank you to those who took up the challenges which made the hard work rewarding. Our wonderful judge, Nick Wilford, attests to the quality of WEP writing when he judges each challenge, so it’s not just us.

 A special thank you to those of you who have been with us for the whole journey and we’re sorry that closing down WEP will have a great impact, but all is not lost. More info on the WEP website.


 The WEP anthology is going ahead at this stage, for publication in May 2024, but as yet we do not have enough entries to take it forward. The end of December is the close of submissions, but if you intend to submit, please send Nila your information. We need at least 14 more submissions to make the anthology viable. It will be a precious keepsake, so if you want to see your story included for perpetuity, gain a publishing credit, send it in!

The awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

~*~ WEP ~*~ WEP ~*~ WEP ~*~

Now, for Over to You, we have been asked to base our story on our favorite movie. 

From the WEP Challenges Page: So...will it be a romance? action-adventure? family drama? horror? Or will it be a comedy? tragedy? thriller?

I'm not absolutely sure how to categorize my entry - it's mostly fact, partly fiction, part essay with pictures...whatever...please enjoy,


I watched The Song of Bernadette with my sister when we were very young. I remember we bawled our eyes out afterward, and to this day it’s a movie I can’t forget.

The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 American biographicaldrama film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Franz Werfel. It portrays the story of Bernadette Soubirous, who reportedly experienced eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary from February to July 1858 and was canonized in 1933.  

The novel was extremely popular, spending more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller list and thirteen weeks heading the list. The story was also turned into a Broadway play, which opened at the Belasco Theatre in March 1946. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Roman Catholic, but I was profoundly touched by this movie. I do believe in miracles however. In these troubled times, we need all the miracles we can get!

A Song of Miracles

Based on a true story

In the quaint town of Lourdes, nestled amidst the rolling hills of southwestern France, a sense of serenity lingered in the air undisturbed by the echoes of the past that reverberated through cobblestone streets and ancient stone buildings.

Lourdes, SW France

Amidst this peaceful setting lived a fourteen-year old girl named Bernadette Soubrirous. She was an ordinary peasant girl, but the richness of her spirit made her extraordinary. Little did she or the townsfolk know her life would soon become entwined with the miraculous.

Bernadette Soubrirous

“Bernadette! Go fetch some firewood,” was her mother’s cry each evening. “Stop your dreaming, silly girl.”

Bernadette did not mind the menial task or the sharpness of her mother’s tongue. She loved to ramble beside the river, admire the wildlife and discover secret grottos nestled in its rocky banks.

It was an ordinary day when it happened.

Bernadette wandered along the banks of the Gave River collecting firewood for her family. Distracted by a strange breeze and a change in the light, she discovered a hidden grotto. Intrigued by its mysterious aura, she felt an inexplicable urge to linger. It was as if an unseen force beckoned her to stay.

Before her eyes, a vision appeared. A beautiful lady clad in white stood on a rock niche. Bernadette fell to her knees. When she looked up, the lady had disappeared.

I will come to this magic grotto every day, Bernadette whispered. As God is my witness, I will see you again.

Soon, whispers of an ethereal presence spread. Some of the townsfolk doubted Bernadette’s visions, while others believed, but there was an undeniable sense of magic in the air.

“Maman,” Bernadette said after seeing the vision several times, “I have witnessed a beautiful lady bathed in light by the river, who spoke to me with a voice as gentle as the breeze.”

“Enough of your silliness, my girl.” Her mother tossed her bright red hair. “Go fetch more firewood or you will go hungry tonight.” She grabbed Bernadette’s arm. “And stay away from the river.”

Bernadette, true to her vow, repeatedly visited the grotto despite her mother's warning.

The citizens of Lourdes stopped her in the streets as she made her way to the river. 

“Come with me. See the lady for yourself,” she told them.

On one visit, the lady asked Bernadette to drink and wash at a seemingly non-existent spring. Bernadette obediently dug a hole in the ground with her fingers and smeared her face with dirt.

“Ha! See! A charlatan, a trickster, an imbecile!” some onlookers cried, but their ridicule changed to wonder when water began to flow from the hole, and later to exaltation when its miraculous healing properties cured the sick amongst them.

Even more people flocked to Lourdes to witness these miracles for themselves.

The news of Bernadette's visions reached the ears of the town mayor, the sceptical Alphonse Lacade. Intrigued yet doubtful, he decided to investigate for himself.

“Do you truly see visions?” he asked Bernadette, trying to discern the truth behind her extraordinary tale. “I see sincerity in your eyes and you exhibit an unwavering conviction in your voice. I am truly baffled. This tale cannot be true.”

“My tale is true,” she said. “I know they say I’m just a poor girl who has never suffered. Why was I chosen to receive visitations from the Lady? I cannot explain. I only believe.”

The mayor doubted.

Many did not.

Soon the Massabielle grotto, became a place of pilgrimage. People from far and wide travelled to witness the miracles whispered to occur in Lourdes.

“Help me. Carry me to the waters,” the sick and blind cried.

“I need solace,” wept a young mother, clutching her children’s hands as she took her turn at the stream. “My husband has died. The mysterious Lady's presence comforts me.”

Bernadette watched in wonder as miracles occurred, overcoming scepticism and scrutiny.

Jennifer Jones as Bernadette

The hoards believed what they were seeing and spoke to Bernadette. “We have witnessed the inexplicable: the blind seeing, the lame walking, and the hopeless finding newfound hope. Bernadette, your song is our song.”

The grotto transformed into a sanctuary of faith and miracles, with countless pilgrims kneeling, praying, watching and spreading the good news.

“The whole world needs these miracles,” they told each other. “Look at Brother John. How long has he lay abed? Now he walks.”

Soon the kneeling believers were joined by men in robes standing behind them, watching those who could not walk, walk, those who could not see, see. They were a delegation of priests of the Catholic Church, cautious and measured, sent to investigate the authenticity of the young girl's apparitions. They spent hours questioning Bernadette and examining the witnesses, and deliberated over the inexplicable events unfolding in Lourdes.

In the end, after countless interviews and miraculous healings, the Church recognized the supernatural occurrences as genuine.

“We cannot doubt when before our eyes we see the lame walk and the blind see as Jesus promised. These visions are indeed a divine intervention. Even the mayor is now humbled by the inexplicable beauty of these miracles that have unfolded in his small town. We must see to the Lady’s canonization and build a sanctuary to The Lady of Lourdes.”

The Sanctuary to The Lady of Lourdes

The Song of Bernadette echoed throughout Lourdes, immortalizing the faith and resilience of a young girl who, against all odds, became the vessel for miracles. The grotto, once a hidden gem, now stood as a symbol of hope, drawing pilgrims from every corner of the globe.

The priests declared she must enter a convent. “You must spend your days in reflection and prayer with the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.” 

And so, in the heart of Lourdes, amidst the timeless hills and the flowing Gave River, the melody of miracles continued its song, carried on the wings of belief and the echoes of a song that transcended the boundaries of the ordinary.

Bernadette herself refused to take the miraculous waters when a tumor grew in her leg. On her deathbed, she sorrowfully maintained that she may never see the lady again. However, the lady appeared in her room, smiled, and gestured to Bernadette. Bernadette joyfully cried out to the apparition before she took her last breath.

The last words Bernadette heard: "You are now in Heaven and on earth. Your life begins, O Bernadette."

According to the RC Church over 7,000 people have been cured at Lourdes ...



TAGLINE: Do you believe in magic? The miraculous? The humble being exalted?

Thanks for visiting!



Elephant's Child said...

Not a movie I have seen (or even heard of).
Thank you for this moving recount.
As to what I believe? There are more things in heaven and earth...
Huge thanks to you and to the entire WEP team. I have gained so much from you all. You will be missed.

Nilanjana Bose said...

That was beautiful, Denise. I can quite see what an amazing powerful film this would make. I haven't seen or heard of it before. What a magnificent finish to your innings at WEP!

Denise Covey said...

Hey Yolanda, I'm glad I can cry over great movies with you. Yeah, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, a real sobfest. Just that I watched TSOB when I was a child and have never forgotten it.

Sue, yeah I know you're not a movie fan, but this movie is awesome. A real oldie.

Nila, thanks, glad you enjoyed my rendition of the true story. Was a delight to revisit.

Jemi Fraser said...

You had such a profound experience with this movie. Lovely flash!

A Hundred Quills said...

Beautiful narration, Denise. I haven't heard of this movie but your story definitely moved me and I was hooked. There are so many unexplained things in this world. What are they if not miracles?

J.Q. Rose said...

Congratulations on 13 years of WEP! What a wonderful gift for writers to stretch their wings. I loved reading the stories created in the competitions. Wonderful imaginative tales.

After reading your lovely post about Bernadette, I am anxious to find out more--perhaps even discover the movie online. Thank you.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I haven't seen the movie. I don't think I've even heard of it. Gasp. Might have to hunt it down.

Thirteen years of WEP is a huuuuuuge achievement. Congratulations! May the closing of one door open another.

Olga Godim said...

I never watched that movie - I don't think it was ever translated into Russian. Christian miracles were not something the Communist Party would offer to the citizens of Russia. And later, after Perestroika, that same movie seemed too old.
Frankly, I'm not too keen to watch it now. Not sure I believe in miracles, and I definitely don't believe in religion. Of any kind. Even though I write fantasy and employ magic in my stories, or maybe because of it, I don't believe in magic in real life. Sad, I know.

Shilpa Gupte said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I do believe in miracles. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, Denise!

J Lenni Dorner said...

I'm sad that WEP is ending.
I've never heard of or seen the movie or book.

Nice that so many have been cured or found miracles. There is much in this world that can't be explained without faith.

What book did you most enjoy this year?
May joy, peace, and goodwill be with you this season and always.

J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction & Reference Author and Co-host of the April Blogging #AtoZchallenge

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry WEP is coming to an end. It's hard to let something go that you've poured your heart and soul into.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Denise, Thank you for all your work with the WEP. I'm sorry I've been absent for the most part these last couple of years.

I've never seen Song of Bernadette, and I'm afraid I'm a confirmed rationalist--no magic and no miracles. But I'm happy to immerse myself in fictional worlds full of the magic that I WISH really existed!

Pat Garcia said...


I have never seen this movie, but it is no wonder, I was born in the deep south and we weren't allowed to attend the cinema. However, your story has awoken my desire to see it and I will try to. find it.

Thank you for the WEP. I really didn't know about it until tonight after I had posted my story. It is sad, but I understand. There comes a time when we know it is time for a change. It is time to step out and find out what more is there waiting for me.

I will always have fond memories of the WEP. It helped me find my voice, and for that I am thankful.

In fact, I thank the entire WEP Team and also the judge Nick Wilford. I purchased his book when it was on pre-order. Now I must take the time to read and review. it.

Take care of yourself, and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe crossover into 2024.

Shalom shalom my friend.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The life of Jennifer Jones who was the star of that moving movie is a sad and tragic as well. She will be a minor character in my nest Dark Hollywood novel.

Life has been a harsh mistress so I have not had the time or health to participate.

I pray that the New Year takes you to only happy destinations.

I have been honored to have participated in such an epic journey as WEP afforded. Merriest of Christmases!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Denise
A great movie. A sad ending. I don't believe in magic, but I do believe in miracles. I have had many in my life. I'll miss WEP, but I get it's a little too much for some, even me with my failing health.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise - I am really sorry WEP is stopping though quite understand after all the work you and your administration friends put in for us. I've enjoyed it ... once I got over my fear of entering!

Re Lourdes - I've never been, nor thought about going ... we each dream of miracles at times ... and they often occur - I can only wish you and the family a happy retirement. Equally - thanks for the back-story, which I didn't know ... cheers Hilary

Jamie said...

I haven't seen this. But your story is good. Stay well and keep on writing! I hope the anthology happens.

Bernadette said...

I've never heard about the movie but I do know the story. Fun fact: I was named after her 🙃