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This summer, in Lourdes...

T eventThursday, 29 February 2024

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Pilgrims, sick people or hospital workers: more than 4000 people came to Lourdes from August 11 – 16, 2022 for the 149th National Pilgrimage organized by the Assumption family. These days of prayer, meetings, and multiple activities in the aftermath of these two post-covid years were a real joy!

For this 2022 pilgrimage, our Congregation responded "present" to the invitation of Father Vincent Cabanac, AA, Director of the National Pilgrimage. We were divided into different services. Each one was able to find her place according to her age, her talents and her desires!

Thank you to Sister Laure for serving the sick pilgrims in the dining room at the Notre Dame reception.

Thank you to Sister Corinne for her service in a children's pilgrimage: the "discovery pilgrimage" for 6–7-year-olds.

Thank you to Sister Françoise for her service in the choir which animated the celebrations.

Thank you to Sister Bernadette for her service to the Lourdes Signs Trail.

Thank you to Sister Annick for her service in the “Listening Tent”.

Thanks to Sister Marie-Jeanne for leading the rosary at the grotto.

Thanks to Sisters Anne, Anne-Flore and Marie-Geneviève for the proposed conference-workshop on hope, Assumption education and interiority respectively.

Thanks to all the Sisters of the Lourdes Community, Danielle, Sylvie, Anne-Marie and Mary-Cecilia who welcomed us with loving care.

Thank you to each one who was fully alive in her service and her pilgrimage of heart

The spiritual dynamics of the pilgrimage? A whole program: "With Mary, let us become witnesses of hope". Each day we discovered a particular dynamics, where conferences, testimonies, evenings and celebrations enriched the process. Msgr. Aveline, Archbishop of Marseille - and soon to be Cardinal - presided over the pilgrimage. Here are some excerpts from his homilies:

Day 1: Speak, your servant listens" 1 Sam 3:10

"...On the threshold of our pilgrimage, let us therefore make our own the availability of young Samuel, learning from the old Elijah the only response that is appropriate, both for our personal lives and for our Church, that of availability to the word of God, that of trust in his call: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening". And here, in Lourdes, it was the Virgin Mary herself who came to teach the young Bernadette this availability of the heart which alone allows the word of God to sow our lives and make them bear fruit by attaching them to the vine which is Christ. For without him, we can do nothing! Saint Mark, and he is the only evangelist to compose his account in this way, has set the scene of the calming of the storm just after a long day in which Jesus preached the Word of God, notably with the parable of the Sower. As if to tell us that it was not enough for the disciples to listen to the Master speak, they still had to discover concretely the power of this word, sown in them, requiring their confidence and their hope in the face of the perils of life... ".

Day 2: "Go, your faith has saved you" Mk 10:52

"...Today, brothers and sisters, on this new day of our pilgrimage, we stand with Mary and Bernadette before the grotto of Massabielle, like the disciples and the crowd before the walls of Jericho. Christ is there, like a spring of living water just waiting to be revealed, when Bernadette's hands, braving walls of incomprehension, obey the Lady and scrape the earth with the fingers of faith. Today, before this spring, we hear the Lord asking each of us personally: "What do you want me to do for you? We have the whole day to answer him, and even our whole life, but let us first recognize that this question is vertiginous, when God himself is willing to listen to us! Let us not miss this appointment!

Day 3: "The kingdom of God has come upon you" Lk 19:9

"...To show this goodness of God, Mary approached the rock of Massabielle, speaking with respect to the humble Bernadette, and then asking her to also come closer by crossing the River Gave. And since then, the crowds that come here in procession enter into the mystery of this closeness where each person, whatever their health, whatever the torments, failures or dreams of their life, feels united in their hope and finds the thread of their baptismal vocation. This vocation can be expressed in many ways, in marriage, religious life, consecrated life, the priestly ministry: it does not matter. No one vocation is greater than another, none can live without the others, and none has a monopoly on holiness! However, we are all responsible for the quality of the response of others to the Lord's call, and we must, as Jesus himself asked those he sent on mission, pray to the Lord of the harvest "to send out laborers into his harvest"...

Day 4, Feast of the Assumption: Mary, Mother of everyone, is a sign of hope

"...Elizabeth, confirming Mary in her faith, made the deeply moving song of the Magnificat blossom on her lips, and we, in the school of our Mother, can praise God for his inclination towards the poor and humble. This is the "astounding" secret of the Magnificat that all "pilgrims of hope" meditate on in their hearts, especially here, with the sick, before the Grotto of Massabielle! God overthrows the powerful from their thrones, he fills the hungry with good things. By bending over his humble servant, God reveals his own inclination for the poorest. Jesus would later say: "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, what you have hidden from the wise and learned you have revealed to the little ones"...

Day 5: "It is impossible for us to be silent" Acts 4:20

"...We too, when we come to Lourdes, come to a place, and we like to come here and return. Perhaps because, more or less confusedly, we have discovered that this place is a link, that this place creates a link, between us of course, but even more so with Christ, thanks to Mary and Bernadette.

Mary Magdalene, too, was looking for a place: "If you have taken it away, tell me where you have put it, and I will go and take it away", she said to the man who did not answer but called her by her first name: "Mary! The Good Shepherd, as Jesus had said, knows each of his sheep by name, for it is the bond that takes precedence over the place. Mary Magdalene begins to understand. She would like to embrace him and keep him to herself, but the Lord sends her on a mission: "Go to my brothers and tell them that I am going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. And here is this woman, who was so overwhelmed before, now becomes the first witness of the Risen One. Here is the sinner of yesteryear charged with announcing the Gospel to the apostles themselves. Miserando atque eligendo!

See you in 2023, in Lourdes, for the 150th National Pilgrimage...