Lourdes Pilgrimage 2015
Last October we listened to a presentation in the 6th form about going to Lourdes on the Portsmouth Diocese annual pilgrimage. Six of us decided we would like to go and so on Thursday 20th August, myself, Chloe, Maia, Holly, Beth and Charlotte boarded a coach in London, bound for the town of Lourdes in Southern France. We had volunteered to act as young helpers.
Lourdes is a special place because of what happened in 1858 to a young 14 year old girl called Bernadette. Over a period of 3 months she saw 18 apparitions of Our Lady. Our Lady told Bernadette to dig a hole and from that hole, a spring formed. She then bathed the arm of a crippled woman in the water and she was healed. This is why people flock to Lourdes in their thousands every year.
We had two main roles to fulfil whilst we were in Lourdes. The first was hotel rolling. This involved taking the assisted pilgrims from their hotels, shopping to get coffee or ice cream or so they could join a procession.
The second role we undertook was Accueil care. The Accueil is essentially the hospital in Lourdes. Our work involved washing pilgrims, helping them dress and getting breakfast. We also performed a similar role in the evening. In addition to this we were also put on Accueil roll taking the assisted Pilgrims out into the town or on to a procession.
Processing is a significant part of the daily routine in Lourdes, Our Lady asked Bernadette to tell the people to come in procession. To see the processions is extremely moving.
The evening torchlight procession was one of the high points of the week for me. It was during this that I realised how significant the events in Lourdes were and that and I was one of thousands of people all praising God; I suddenly realised I was part of something much bigger than I had first thought and made me realise how lucky I was to be a part of it.
Going to Lourdes was an amazing experience and it has changed me a lot, I now feel much closer to God, more confident in myself and more self worth.
I feel truly lucky to have been a part of the pilgrimage this year and I hopefully look forward to going next year