Thursday, June 21, 2012

Operation Lourdes Final Day

We actually began our last day in Lourdes the evening before with an 11:00 p.m. Mass in the Grotto followed by Eucharistic Adoration. Strong winds blew out the tower of candles which sits always before the Grotto and caused a column of incense to swirl about the altar and permeate the place with its sweet odor. A dramatic ending to the evening service.

One last morning in Lourdes and time to say au revoir to this holy place. We had just enough time to stop in the Museum of St. Bernadette and see some relics of the saint...her shoes and the veil of her habit as well as some autographed letters.

Then we stopped in the underground Basilica of St. Pius X which was built in 1959 for the centenary celebration of the apparitions. Said to be one of the largest buildings of its type, it will accommodate in excess of 20,000 worshippers. Its massive concrete structure stands in stark contrast to the more ornate places of worship here. Fifty-eight concrete pillars support the oval-shaped structure and its walls are adorned with Stations of the Cross and back-lit stained glass series of the Rosary.

A final bittersweet visit to the Grotto and we were able to receive communion one last time on this hallowed ground. While we're sad to leave this place, our final encounter here is a fitting reminder that Our Lady calls us to herself only to draw us closer to Christ.

We are now in Toulouse and will soon be on a plane heading home. A huge music festival is in full swing outside our balcony... Not exactly like the torchlight procession in Lourdes and the Marian chants of that first night but a lively celebration nonetheless.

I am grateful to have shared this remarkable trip with my dear friend, Kathy. We prayed, laughed, walked, ate, reflected, studied maps, laughed some more, shopped, attended masses, reconciliation, walked the stations, worked on Rosaries, explored the path of St. Bernadette, and so much more. After sharing close quarters together for eight days we decided we must truly be soul sisters because at the end of this pilgrimage we are still best of friends! I am thankful for the Willis Family for sharing her with me this week!

Now as I conclude my chronicles, I want to thank you again. I am forever grateful to each of you that have supported me on this pilgrimage - financially and spiritually. I will never forget your generosity just as I can never forget this experience. I feel as if I have left a little part of me in the Grotto so I'm sure to be returning there often. And just as I did this week, I will carry you in my heart as I go!


Angie Etienne said...

What a remarkable week you've experienced and have shared! I feel as though a part of me has been on retreat with the two of you! ! Thank you for sharing and know of my love....have a safe, peaceful trip home!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Nicolette,
I'm sad that your journey is over!!I can't even imagine what you might be feeling. I'm certain the "Spirit" will continue to work within and through you.
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

Anonymous said...

It was great to read about your wonderful journey. The kids and parents of Holy Name should be so very proud to have you in their lives and we hope you stay for a very long time. We love you Sister Nicolette.

The Stafford Family

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a fun time and got to see many wonderful things!!

Amanda Prather

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your Holy Pilgrimage with us Sister. I hope I can go to Lourdes someday as well! God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Wow sister!Thank you very much for sharing your vacation with us!It was fun in religion class to hear all about it.I'll be sure to be at your blog a lot!
Alexia Sheets

Anonymous said...

That seemed like a awesome trip. I hope you had fun. I loved that power point in class today.
Jack Wubbolding

Anonymous said...

That is so wonderful... I soo want to go to Lourdes France now!!!

Katie S

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The Beauty Diet

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