Saturday, June 16, 2012

Operation Lourdes Day Three

Today on this Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary we were able to join other pilgrims in praying the rosary in the Grotto. We were praying in English and they in French, but all with one heart. The diversity of the people here truly make it feel like a heaven on earth. So many beautiful smiling "malades" which are what the infirm pilgrims are called.

The Grotto marks the spot in the cave of the rock of Massabielle where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette eighteen times in 1858. Since then, millions of pilgrims have gathered there together in prayer. We walked into the cave and saw where Bernadette dug out the original spring from which healing waters continue to flow for the physical and spiritual blessings of the faithful. We were also able to pray in the very spot, marked in the pavement, where Bernadette prayed when she first saw the "beautiful lady".

Afterward we stopped in the Rosary Basilica which is built against the rock of the Grotto. Around the Church there are fifteen chapels dedicated to the mysteries of the rosary, beginning on the left, each adorned with spectacular mosaics depicting the individual mysteries. The fifteenth chapel contains mosaics which represent people involved with St. Bernadette and the apparitions. In the upper wall of the sanctuary there is a large mosaic of the Virgin Mary with outstretched arms bearing the inscription "Par Marie a Jesus" (through Mary to Jesus). What a blessing to be able to pray to Our Lady in such a place!

Finally, we concluded our day with an English mass being held in one of the countless chapels here in Lourdes. With rapidly dropping temperatures and an ominous looking sky, we grabbed some "take out" and hurried back to the hotel to enjoy a picnic on the balcony. And now from that same balcony as the sky grows dark, we are enjoying the sights and sounds of the several hundreds of pilgrims that are participating in a breathtaking candlelight procession which occurs every night at 9 pm. All the pilgrims carry candles and process from the Grotto toward the Rosary Basilica, reciting the rosary and singing Ave Maria, and honoring Mary with their song and prayer.

A day filled with wonder and delight! I still can't believe we are in this holy place all thanks to the love and generosity of my wonderful Class of 2012! Keep your own Light of Christ burning brightly dear friends! Continued prayers for each and every one of you...


Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Nicolette,
I am happy for you and grateful that you are taking the time to share your "wonderfilled" days.

Love and Prayers,

Anonymous said...

Going to Lourdes seems fun! The pictures you took are awesome!! See ya Wednesday and wish us luck for our kickball game today!
Love, Sarah Hayden