Friday, February 11, 2011

Feast Day: Our Lady of Lourdes

Our family is very tied-into the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes:  my husband and I met while we were teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes School .... we were married at Our Lady of Lourdes Church ... two of our children were baptized at Our Lady of Lourdes Church ... we've been very blessed to go to Lourdes as a family, twice -- once in 2000 and again in 2001.  My maternal great-grandfather came from the Basque village of  Oloron-Ste.Marie, about 20 miles west of Lourdes in the Pyrennes.

We have many connections.

This apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in a grotto in the south of France 18 times in the 1850s is one of the most visited shrines in the world.  Catholics, Christians, Jews ... even pagans go to Lourdes to pray and become whole in mind, body and spirit.  Some are cured ... some are eased in their illness ... some are left with the crippling diseases which have brought them to this spot.  But all leave with a sense of peace and love and care that only the Blessed Mother and her Son can bring.

It is an amazing place like none other on earth ... a place of prayer ... a place of peace ... a place of love.  The candlelight prayer service everynight is amazing: singing and crying and praying in different languages, warmed by the glow of the thousands and thousands of candles that fill the area in front of the Cathedral.  There is a constant flow of penitents into and out of the Confessional Building, where the Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered all day every day in just about every language.  The Blessed Sacrament is available for adoration as is Holy Mass throughout the day.  The sick ... wheeled in on stretchers or wheel chairs, some even carried ... are all there for a special healing service in the afternoon, every afternoon. 

What a haven of peace and Divine love in the midst of our 21st Century.

Today, we'll read stories from The Wonders of Lourdes: 150 Miraculous Stories of the Power of Prayer ... we'll watch Bernadette and Song of Bernadette (we started last night by watching Loretta Young in Road to Lourdes).  We'll eat Tuna Lorenzo (tuna salad on homemade English muffins, broiled) and Gateau Basque (I'll post our version later) ... and of course, we'll pray for all those who are sick, suffering or dying as well as praying in thanksgiving for God's Love which allowed St. Bernadette to see Mary and God's Charity which continues the miraculous cures into the 21st century.


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