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.
2014 Lourdes Pilgrimage
April 30 - May 7
MALADE AND COMPANION SHARE LOURDES MEMORIES
In the grotto at Lourdes, they were overtaken by a sense of peace and felt God’s promise to help them to grow in relationship with Him, with each other and with their new friends in the Order.
So said James Schreiner and Hazel Pulliam, who went together on the 2013 Lourdes Pilgrimage. Hazel, wheelchair bound and intellectually disabled, was a malade, and James, her companion. Read more --
Recently Hazel and James shared their thoughts about the Lourdes Pilgrimage with a group of members who meet at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, DC. Hazel is a woman of few words, but her talent as a photographer allows her to express herself. James puts words to Hazel’s pictures.
In the L’Arche community in Arlington, Va, where they live, Hazel is a core member and James , her assistant. They help each other and learn from each other.
“Hazel is my sister in L’Arche,” James explains. “She gives me valuable gifts.” Hazel points to James and nods her head.
In every photo in Lourdes Hazel and James are smiling broadly and exuding a grace which is obvious to everyone. From their first encounter in doctors’ interviews to the end of the pilgrimage, these two impressed Lourdes pilgrims with their care for each other.
Going on the pilgrimage gave Hazel and James a deep sense of belonging - a gift, they say, which comes from God through relationship with other people.
A highlight came early when both received their pilgrim’s medal from the Grand Master. Every day from that day on, they pinned their medals to their clothing and felt that they truly belonged to the Malta community. Hazel’s favorite were mealtimes, when, James says, “there was joy around the table and beautiful fellowship.” Hazel also delighted in being with knights and dames for her first airplane ride and for trips on the Lourdes tram around town and the funicular up the mountain.
Both also enjoyed sitting together at the grotto, seeing the lighted candles, and appreciating the faith of everyone around them. Hazel took lots of photos of those times, and James felt a renewed sense of peace and community.
Hazel and James continue to feel close to members of the Order whom they have met. They attended the Lourdes Pilgrimage Reunion in July, and Hazel is sharing her pilgrimage experience in a book she has published of her Lourdes photographs. They both look forward to the evening meals they share in their home with knights and dames who regularly visit them.
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."
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.
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 -