April 25

Lourdes

Lourdes

On Tuesday morning we had a walking tour of Lourdes, visiting Bernadette’s childhood home, her parish church, her room when she and her family were destitute and the visions began.  The afternoon was free so I wandered about the town and the large area devoted to the grotto and the millions of people who visit each year. 

In most of my previous posts I have chosen photos of windows, doors, buildings, etc.  This place has impressed me not with their buildings (though they are wondrous) but with the sheer number of people who come here.  Lourdes is not on a main route yet it has six million visitors each year.  It has 250 hotels in town yet it is essentially a small town.  

I am still in awe/shock from the Mass in the Grotto experience.  I have taken many photos of the churches here in Lourdes, but they really don’t seem to have the impact for me as the other churches have.  Instead, I am overwhelmed by the people who are here.  There is no sense that this is a tourist site.  I have the strong sense that people are here carrying hope and peace and good will.  There are smiles everywhere.  Those in wheeled devices no less than those walking or caring for others.  There is a phalanx of volunteers here helping people get around. 

The lines of people waiting to touch the rock of the grotto or to wash themselves in the waters here or to light candles marking their intentions or the pray the rosary or to walk the Stations of the Cross are all amazing to me.  As one of the other pilgrims reflected, “the whole world is gathered here and they are all at peace.”  So instead, of places of worship today, here are the people at worship.

 

Pilgrimage to France and Spain

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