Lourdes, France - Polarsteps
The amount of stress I had to go through just to get here...smh
Arrived at Lourdes after a few train issues. It's a nice little town. Off to the grotto tomorrow
I spent the whole 2nd day at Le Grotte. I was expecting to do some more but was very overwhelmed by the surreal experience of being at the Grotto. Being at a place I never thought I would actually get to and having that place be somewhere you learned about your whole childhood was very cool....more to come in writing
The Sanctuary at Lourdes is made up of a few basilicas, the grotto, some areas the grotto is channeled to, and then some other buildings for prayer, reflection, etc.
The main Basilica is the two Basilicas of Our Lady of the Rosary (lower) and of the Immaculate Conception (upper). The upper holds a relic of St. Bernadette Soubirous. The lower is filled w beautiful mosaics. A group from the order of Malta was there and I watched their procession to the Sanctuary and mass in the basillica. The other basilic is underground and is MASSIVE which was very cool. They had adoration where the brought the host through the Sanctuary and finished in the underground basilica.
The Grotto is under the basillicas (literally buil/ on top of it) which is really neat and symbolic of "building a church on a rock". The Grotto is where Mary appeared to Bernadette and the spring she dug is. Past that, there are a bunch if little fountains that are all motion activated that funnels the channeled water from the grotto. And past those is the area where (before the COVID panda medic) you bathe in the grotto water. Since has been replaced with the Water Gesture where visitors replicate Bernadette's finding of the spring in Mary's 9th apparition to her. A very cool experience.
I got a candle to place as an offering so that it burns in the sanctuary past my leaving.
Lourdes is a town ar the foot of the Pyrenees and they have a stations of the cross that climbs up into the mountains.
And then on the way out there are a bunch of spouts that funnel the water from the Grotto where people bring back water from Lourdes. The water is said to be holy, though not holy water, and has been attributed to many miracles over the past 150 years, healing both physical, mental, and spiritual ailments.
What I found the most touching was all these notes tucked away in rocks all around the Grotto. A testament to peoples' hopes and faith
Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago