Special Needs Pilgrimage Service
Available each June and October

Special Needs Pilgrimages are an invitation to the ill, elderly, handicapped or special needs pilgrims and families to visit Lourdes accompanied by both lay caregivers and medical volunteers in service as:


  • Caregivers – assist with personal care needs including bathing, toileting, dressing and feeding.
  • Companions – provide caring family and friendship during travel; offer dining assistance and daily share the pilgrimage experience.
  • Medical – plan and provide supportive care for special needs pilgrims throughout travel and stay.
  • Brancardiers – provide both transfer and transport services daily throughout pilgrimage.
  • Handmaidens – provide dining room, hospitality and housekeeping assistance.
  • Youth – offer junior handmaiden, brancardier and companion services in a catechesis program.

Caregivers, companions and medical volunteers travel with the Special Needs Pilgrimage.

Brancardiers and handmaidens travel with our Advance Volunteer Team…

Join the A-Team

In addition to volunteers traveling with each Special Needs Pilgrimage, an Advance Team of volunteers is necessary to bring the sick and suffering to Lourdes. North American Lourdes Volunteers coordinates an Advance Team of volunteers and provides these volunteers with formation, orientation and training in service to our Special Needs Pilgrimages.

The Advance Team arrives two days prior to prepare for the arrival of the pilgrimage and extends their stay for inventory, material storage and to disinfect the hospital-like facility utilized by the pilgrimage.

Advance Team responsibilities during pilgrimage include:

  • Transportation Service (wheelchair/voiture assistance)
  • Dining Room Service (set up, serve, clean up)
  • Hospitality Service (provide coffee, tea, Lourdes water for consumption, supplemental dietary items, and assistance to pilgrims)
  • Housekeeping Service (cleaning rooms of pilgrims including making beds and cleaning bathrooms)

Schedule varies depending on assignment.