Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter at Lourdes

Thought of blogging again after a long period of silence, just don’t; seem to be in the mood to write much, maybe cos I’m just too happy these days(I’ve heard that you need some misery or sadness to be inspired!)…the reason, I think I’ll keep to my self for now

I thought of just writing about my lovely stay in Lourdes (it’s at the foot hills of the Pyrenees) France over Easter weekend, I guess it was more of a pilgrimage than tourism…

If you are not familiar with Lourdes and it’s significance, it is considered miraculous by many Catholics and is supposed to be one of the most highly visited pilgrim sights in the world. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a 14 year old girl (poor and illiterate), St Bernadette. She had seen many such appearances and at one instance a spring appeared, which later became famous for the miraculous powers of the water. There have been many instances where people with incurable diseases, have drunk or washed themselves in this water and have been cured with no medical explanation. You can find out more about it here

I visited Lourdes with my parents who are staying with me for 2 months, my cousin, and aunty (who also stayed for a week, so for one week my single bed room apartment was turned to one big slumber party with ppl sleeping all over the place, in sleeping bags and sofas!).

I had visited Lourdes with my parents when I was 2 years old, but I don’t remember it at all…It was a dream of my moms to go there again, and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity since I stay so close to France and it is possible to go the Lourdes in the over night train.

We also went to take a bath in the Lourdes water well and the ladies and gents go in separately, basically you have to remove your clothes and wear a cloth and get into the water. It was freeeeeeeezing! Luckily they said to say the prayers and make the petitions before getting into the water, cos as soon as I got in I was so frozen my brain stopped working! We also collected a lot of water to give to friends and family who had asked for it.

I also lit candles to pray for many people who had asked for prayers. I don’t know why but there is something about candles, and the light that has always attracted me. The light it spreads and how the tiny candle can dispel darkness...

Since we were there during holy week we went on a rather spiritual way of the cross, what I liked about it was that it was related to our everyday lives rather than repeating a set of prayers.

Lourdes is also a very pretty calm town, as you can see from the pics, and I just wish we had more time there but then I;m saving my leave for a long Christmas vacation home. It was a very slow life style and it was nice to get away from work for a while. One of the things I loved about Lourdes was that though it is a famous pilgrim site, it still had not lost it’s spiritual feel no vendors near the church and where the water is, and they don’t charge for people to go into the church unlike in some churches like St Pauls Cathedral London, where they charge for entrance, and I was once told to leave simply cos I was not going to stay for mass and it was a Sunday and they did not allow tourists! I told them that I was just there to pray which they accepted, but I couldn’t believe that a church should charge an entrance fee while the museums in uk were free!

We also went Nevers to see the body of St Bernadette which is still preserved with no decay, it was amazing, and I believe that many tests have been done, and no one can find an explanation for it, except that it’s a miracle. This is a picture of how the body is, it looks so peaceful and young. (This was not taken by me as it is forbidden to take pictures, I just found this online)

In Nevers which was a the convent St Bernadette later went to, what struck me most was that she was such a humble person, and her contribution to the world was simple service, which was why she joined the sisters of charity… I thought I’ll end this post with one of her quotes which I especially found beautiful. It’s amazing how God chooses the humblest among us to be his instruments, I guess it’s sometimes good to visit places such as these and realize what should be important in our world, not wealth and material things as media would have us believe, but love and serving others…

From here on earth, Love cannot live without suffering. It is through loving the cross that we discover His Heart, for divine Love never lives without suffering. I want my whole life to be inspired by love. He who loves, does all things easily, or, if he suffers, he suffers bravely. Why is suffering necessary? Because on earth, pure love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"
- Saint Bernadette Soubirous

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Blogger Anna said...

oh, this REALLY hit me!!! what a treasure to be there during Easter...

thank you so for writing this, I really can't begin to tell you enough... :)))

12:20 am, April 17, 2009  
Blogger smiley said...

Hi Anna,

I'm glad you liked this was wonderful to spend Easter in Lourdes.

4:28 pm, April 18, 2009  

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