How did you first get involved with Lourdes Volunteers?
I went to the Medical Volunteer Conference in February 2017 and was amazed at how much preparation was involved and the love and care they showed to everyone, especially those with special needs. Everyone’s deep desire to serve others was evident.
A friend of mine from my prayer group had been sending me e-mails from Our Lady of Lourdes NALV hospitality for many years. For a long time, I used my vacation time from work to visit my elderly mother in the Philippines. Since her death a few years back, I retired from my job, which meant I had more time available to make pilgrimage to Lourdes by the time I attended the Medical Conference.
What has been your favorite aspect of pilgrimage?
Seeing and feeling how much love everyone gives of themselves to others. Seeing Pilgrims’ happiness, despite their special needs, maladies or physical difficulties. Though volunteers and leadership perform work that is often harder and more intense than their usual job or work at home—they are happy. There is a sense of peace and happiness everywhere. No one wants to leave when it’s time to go home
Favorite memory of Lourdes?
Seeing the Joy and Happiness in almost everyone, from all walks of life—healthy or with special needs. I feel like I’m in Heaven when I am there. Seeing the conversion of hearts during Pilgrimage and hearing testimonials from different pilgrims, volunteers and leadership are some of my favorite moments.
When you think of Lourdes, what do you think of?
The Grotto and the beautiful face of Our Lady! I can feel a peace and happiness that I’d never felt before coming to Lourdes for the first time.
How has service with Lourdes Volunteers influenced your faith / daily life?
I have grown spiritually. My prayer life has changed and improved significantly for the better, especially when preparing for the pilgrimage, going to Adoration, and praying the Hail Mary and Rosary more. I want to be Holy like St. Bernadette, to have even a fraction of the faith and grace St. Bernadette showed in responding to Our Lady.
What would you tell someone considering pilgrimage with Lourdes Volunteers?
Pilgrimage is not just a tourist vacation looking at historical sites, eating good food, etc. It is a spiritual experience that I believe everyone should have and will not be able to forget.
In what ways do you hope to continue expressing the Message of Lourdes?
Sharing it with others and promoting Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage. Hoping to live somewhat like St Bernadette and share her YES! FIAT! to Our lady.
Any else you wish to add?
I commend the NALV Hospitality leadership, Board members, staff, volunteers, pilgrims and everyone involved in some way or another for this wonderful family that I feel I belong to. I see and learn how to grow spiritually through the examples and teachings of others in this wonderful family.