US Military, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Dallas Archdioceses, Albany  and Santa Rosa Diocese.

IMG_9162Today, we “walked” in Bernadette’s’ shoes.  We visited the mill where she was born.  We learned about her family being very, very poor—not like middle class—poor and being humble.  Still, they were generous.

We went to “Le Cachot” that was a jail where St. Bernadette and her family were forced to move into when they lost their mill.    “It amazes me that the whole family lived in so small a place.IMG_9172   Most American houses have bigger rooms, even some bathrooms are even bigger than this entire room that was their family home.”   Father Alvin told us the humility of the place connects us to the humility of how Jesus was born.  Holiness grew from this humility for Bernadette.

We went to Bartres, the town where Bernadette worked for on a farm.  “It impressed me that Bernadette chose to leave a meal every day so that she could study her catechism.  She sacrificed that to make her First Communion.”  “I liked learning more about the story of her.  I like being in the old Church because she was in there.  It’s the same name of my parish church at home.”  (St. Jean the  Baptist, 16th-century parish church of Bartres.)

We had time for quiet and we really needed it, I really liked it.

After we served dinner to the special needs pilgrims in the Accueil, we all went together in the Rosary Procession.  “It’s a beautiful procession where we pray the Rosary together but different, holding candles and it was neat to try to figure out the languages.”  “I liked the music and the songs and at the very end we arrived at the Basilica and it was getting dark and you could really see all the candles.  When they hold up the candles, just one special need pilgrim held up their candle and then everybody did!”

Youth Volunteer Reflections of Lourdes:

“Today I had a wonderful time, we went to Bartres.  Bartres is wonderful, we went to see St. Bernadette’s house and learned more about the Soubirous family.  The trip was hard, but it was worth it.”  Anonymous Youth Volunteer, 12

“When you sit in the meadow  where St. Bernadette went to pray, you get an idea of how the simplest acts can make someone a holy person.”  Steve, 17

“Calm…….peaceful”  Carl, 16 and Steven 17

“Awesome!”  Anonymous Lourdes Volunteer, 13

“I don’t understand why more people don’t to Bartres because it is such an important place to understand Bernadette.”  Maddie, 18