St. Bernadette’s spirituality is characterized by her holy desire.  She desired to make her First Holy Communion, which brought her back to Lourdes from Bartrès just prior to the apparitions in 1858.  Later, it was her desire to see the Lady, as she promised, that gave her the strength to overcome the many obstacles that were put in her path.  Ultimately, it was her desire for the “happiness of the other world” which carried her on the path to holiness throughout her life.

Following the loving example of St. Bernadette’s holy desire, our foundress expressed a holy desire to bring the relics of this holy saint to the United States for the first time ever for our 20th anniversary. Then, unexpectedly, the pandemic turned the world upside down and little thought was given to that holy desire.  It was as if that desire was planted like a seed, entrusted to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady in the Grotto.  Miraculously, that seed sprouted, grew and came to fruition quickly —just in time for our 20th anniversary!

The relics of St. Bernadette traveled  for four months from coast to coast and across the heartland to over forty locations, including cathedrals, shrines, parish churches, chapels—and our own humble Lourdes Volunteers office in Syracuse, NY!  Along the way, she was accompanied by our Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage ExperienceTM guides sharing the message of Lourdes with the thousands of pilgrims who came to venerate these holy relics.  Seventy individual virtual pilgrimages were shared by our guides on the relic tour alone.

Many of our members and friends came together to pray and reminisce of memories made in the Grotto. New friendships were formed. Many were welcomed and openly shared their love and devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette. In addition to the veneration of the holy relics, there were reverent Masses, many with Anointing of the Sick, long lines for Confession, holy hours and Eucharistic and Candlelight Rosary processions through the streets of local villages and cities.

It is said, especially in Lourdes, there are “no coincidences, only God-incidences.”  So, it should come as no surprise that this relic tour took place in 2022 as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops kicked off the three-year National Eucharistic Revival on the Feast of Corpus Christi.  It is as if this holy saint, who desired so much to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, brought that desire to the hearts of Americans across this country.  May the holy seeds of desire scattered throughout this holy pilgrimage be nourished with prayer and Lourdes Water to bear the fruit for a Eucharistic Revival in our country and the world!