Thank you so much for choosing my husband and me to join you on the Lourdes Pilgrimage. It was a very beautiful and spiritually enriching experience for both of us. We are both at peace knowing that the Blessed Mother will lovingly care for us always. It was also great to meet so many wonderful people. Tom and I look forward to the reunion in July.
Lourdes Pilgrimage - 2013
From May 1 – 8, over 290 Federal Association Knights and Dames, family members, chaplains, malades and companions participated in the Order of Malta’s annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago and Chaplain of the Order, who accompanied our group, finding time to attend all of our activities and sharing a few moments with everyone throughout the week, said, "I have been privileged to be part of the annual pilgrimage of the Order of Malta to Lourdes, a small town in the mountains on the border between France and Spain. Its place in the history of salvation comes from the Blessed Mother’s appearance there to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858."
Here are some quotes from pilgrims:
"As many have said, words are not adequate but the change in our hearts, minds, and soul is incredible. We are so blessed to have been a part of the 2013 pilgrimage. God Bless."
"I can tell you honestly that the pilgrimage truly changed our lives!"
“One of the most religiously moving experiences of my life. God Bless and be with you all this week.”
“As a candidate for the Order and first time pilgrim to Lourdes, I was awe struck and profoundly touched by the love shown to our malades and companions.”
Click here to see some of the images captured during the Pilgrimage and shared on facebook.
Click here to see a slideshow of photographs taken by Peter Scudner, KM.
The “Lourdes Merchandise Team” sells items throughout the week in Lourdes, and the proceeds go directly to the Lourdes Committee budget to help defray the cost of bringing malades and companions who are not able to pay for the pilgrimage. Two years in a row this effort has resulted in a contribution of over $10,000 to the pilgrimage.
There are many people involved with this tremendous effort: Adam Carter is the team’s indefatigable leader; and Gary Shertenlieb, Todd Gangel, and many others spend a great deal of time (at home and in Lourdes) to make the merchandise so successful.
On a team with so many stars, Marla David from Lafayette, LA, may be the MVP. Marla spends countless hours creating beautiful pillows, aprons, linen napkins, and other object de arts all with the cross and shield of the Order. These items “fly off the shelf” in Lourdes and represent a big portion of the sales.
The Order of Malta Annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Each May, nearly 4,000 Knights and Dames from all over the world travel to Lourdes to learn firsthand what belonging to the Order of Malta really means - devotion, service, and fellowship. Dressed in distinctive uniforms and ministering to the sick and disabled (referred to as “malades” in French), the members of the Order form an international community of faith and service. Click here to read more -
About the Marian Shrine at Lourdes, France
In 1858, in a cave, named Massabielle, situated in Lourdes in the Pyrénées of southern France, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on eighteen occasions to Bernadette Soubirous, a very poor, 14-year-old girl. The first of the apparitions took place on February 11th and the last on July 16th.
The lady - wearing a white dress with a blue sash and with gold roses at her feet -asked that a chapel be built on the site of the vision and told Bernadette to drink from a fountain in the Grotto, "Go, drink of the waters and bathe yourself there." Though no fountain was to be seen, when Bernadette dug at a spot designated by the apparition a spring began to flow. Click here to read more -
The Auxilary & Lourdes
The Auxiliary is a group of Catholics typically but not limited to post-university age ranging from 21-40 who share in the ideals of the Order of Malta. The Lourdes Pilgrimage has come to enjoy a large following among the younger set of the Order. Caring for and tending to the Malades can at times be physically demanding. The days are long and many volunteers may be navigating the carts through the cobble-stoned streets among thousands of fellow pilgrims, often for hours and subject to the elements - which can vary widely. Since the sole focus of each volunteer is to attend to the needs of the Malades - it does sometimes require youth, physical vigor, and enthusiasm. And, though every volunteer approaches their role with joy, the Auxiliary members fulfill this role especially well and bring to the pilgrimage a needed and unique charism. It is often this spiritual experience of self-giving and sacrifice that awakens in the Auxiliary members a calling to the mission of the Order and, at the least, makes them devotees of the Lourdes Pilgrimage.