What makes Lourdes so special and makes me want to return year after year is so very difficult to put into words. Lourdes is quite literally like ‘a little taste of heaven’.
Theresa Mahon

Theresa Mahon from our Parish recently returned from Lourdes to give this inspiring account of her experiences and journey.



Theresa first heard about Lourdes when she was at Primary School. Her Mum had told her that one of her teachers (who was off sick) was going to Lourdes, as a last hope, as she had terminal cancer. 
She remembers her Mum saying to her that if people don’t get a cure, they get special help/acceptance to cope with their situation. 

Amazingly, she was cured, thank God and was at her wedding many years later and perhaps this is what sparked Theresa’s fascination with Lourdes …

Below you will find the full video, transcript and photos of Theresa’s recent visit to Lourdes. At the bottom of this post are additional links and resources to find out more.

A Little Taste of Heaven
I have recently returned from working as a volunteer nurse on our 2019 Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes.


(You may remember, I spoke at Mass after Easter, asking for volunteer helpers and for Pilgrims and Assisted Pilgrims too). It was a delight to be joined by one of our parishioners.

As usual, we had a packed Pilgrimage program and I cannot believe how quickly the week went!



This year, I worked on the Hotel Nursing Team; visiting my group of Hotel Assisted Pilgrims, either at lunchtime or during the evening meal.



I also ran a daily ‘Dressings Clinic’ in the Accueil Notre Dame, where anyone needing to see a nurse, or our ‘On Call’ doctor could come.



Our Pilgrimage took an active part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession (including the Blessing of the Sick) and also the Torchlight Procession during the week.

The phrase ‘Be kind, because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about’ is also particularly true on the Pilgrimage. Some pilgrims have obvious disabilities, but many others, including some of the helpers, have hidden problems.



During the week, we have an Anointing Service.
The Priests and Bishops very gently lay their hands on the sick, before anointing them with holy oil.


A particularly moving experience this year, was seeing Bishop Crispian (our Portsmouth Bishop Emeritus) and Bishop Declan (the Bishop of Clifton Diocese) taking turns to anoint each other.

I have been asked many times by work colleagues and others, if I have seen any miracles. My answer to this is that I see many ‘little miracles’ on a daily basis.
Theresa Mahon

Daily Miracles
I have been asked many times by work colleagues and others, if I have seen any miracles. My answer to this is that I see many ‘little miracles’ on a daily basis.
Some examples of this are:

Seeing the tenderness of one of helpers at the Children’s Mass, dressed as Batman, gently ‘scooping up’ one of our disabled children (also in fancy dress), who had run off over to the choir.

Seeing the devotion of one of our Pilgrims, who year after year, comes with a Hotel Assisted Pilgrim and without any fuss, just sensitively looks after all her needs.

Witnessing a man with Downs Syndrome altar serving every year and the devotion and pride of his elderly parents.



Listening to the beautiful sound of our Music Group singing and praying outside the Baths, on the morning our Pilgrims have their chance to bathe in the waters.

Seeing our hospitable hotel group leader, Fr. Vincent Harvey, always making sure that everyone was all right and showing a perfect mix of humor and spirituality.

Seeing one of our newly qualified nurses, gently comforting one of our Young Helpers, who was overwhelmed, tired and emotional.



Seeing our Chaplain to the Sick (Priest) working as a Brancardier (male helper) and staying in the Accueil every night, in case one of Assisted Pilgrims needed him.

Witnessing the unselfishness of one of our Music Group, who when she experienced a nasty trauma wound, was more concerned at not worrying her mother, whom she was pushing in a wheelchair, than the pain she was in.

I have never forgotten the kindness and support my daughter and I received from our hotel group (and others), when we first went on the Pilgrimage many years ago, when she was quite literally ‘at death’s door’. Many of these same people were also on the Pilgrimage this year.


I plan to be on the Pilgrimage again in 2020 and would love it if you could join me?

If you are interested and would like to know more, please do talk to me or email me. You would be very welcome!

The dates are Fri 21st – Fri 28th August 2020.

Theresa Mahon
Email: tjkmahon@yahoo.co.uk

Additional Resources
Pilgrimage Website: https://www.catholicassociation.co.uk
Pilgrimage Hospitalité : https://www.catholicassociation.co.uk/hospitalite
Download the handbook: https://www.sacredhearthook.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/CA-Pilgrimage-Booklet-2019-A5-Final.pdf

Here is a little gallery of some of the photos from Lourdes.

Theresa

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