Our family has a very special devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. My parents volunteer there for a service week each year, my kids love the CCC cartoon about St. Bernadette, and, oh yeah, we believe that my husband is alive because of her intercession. So, even though we have been before, it was a joy to get to visit Lourdes again.

After Barcelona, and its amazing Gothic and Modern wonders, we headed to the Sanctuary at Lourdes, for Lulu’s second visit, which is, admittedly, pretty ridiculous. It’s an embarrassment of riches. She really has no excuse not to be a beacon of sanctity for her generation. But no pressure.

We arrived in the evening, just in time for the Candlelight Rosary Procession.

I love everything about Lourdes. I love that it’s pretty and it’s quiet and it feels set apart. I love that it has beautiful buildings made by man and beautiful surroundings made by God. I love seeing all the pilgrims, but especially the sick ones. So often the weakest among us are unseen, hidden away in houses or facilities, but at Lourdes that’s not the case. I love that everywhere you go you must make way for sick pilgrims in their chairs, being pushed by helpers.

I love that it is a place of quiet reflection but also a place of accomplishment. Mostly, when we visit a religious site, it’s . . . wander into the church, have a look around, snap some pictures, kneel down and say some prayers . . . that’s pretty much it. But at Lourdes, there are Things to DO. Drink the water, check. Go to Mass, check. Go to confession, check.  Get dunked in the baths, check. Tour that basilica, and that one, and that other one over there, check. Walk the way of the cross, check. And my favorite thing, the candlelight procession, check. It’s just all so rewarding.

“While walking” is my favorite way to pray. Add beautiful surroundings, candlelight, and thousands of other people, praying alongside me, and, wow. It’s really a thing to behold.

After not much sleep at all in a very lovely little hotel, the husband offered to stay back so Lulu could sleep in, while I went to an early Mass and prayed for your intentions at the Grotto. It was a beautiful experience.

On very short notice, I offered on Facebook and Instagram to take your intentions with me (but I didn’t tell you where) and I was blown away by the response. In just a few hours I had hundreds of comments and emails with prayer requests. I hand copied out each one until I had TEN PAGES of intentions to bring to Our Lady in the Grotto.

I got to kneel there, all by myself (which NEVER happens) and pray for each and every one of those intentions, then I got to leave them inside the grotto for Our Lady. I took them to her and she took it from there. And so far, the reports are pretty great. I’ve received some very lovely emails about prayers answered.

So hurray for that.

Speaking of prayer intentions, one that I took along with me was for Mary Lenaburg and her family. Mary is a true beacon of light in a sometimes dark world. For many years, on her blog Passionate Perseverance, Mary has courageously and joyfully shared the life of her special needs daughter, Courtney. Courtney is now nearing death, and the Lenaburgs must not only plan, but also pay for a funeral for their daughter.

That’s on top of their ongoing medical expenses. In addition, Mary’s husband is facing a probable layoff from his job at the end of this month, and their home’s sewer line has collapsed, leaving them with almost no access to water and a hefty repair bill.

Please, pray for the Lenaburg family: Jerry, Mary, Jonathan, and Courtney. And please consider making a donation to help them manage the tens of thousands of dollars in expenses they have this month.
Or here’s her paypal button:

Donations will be used immediately to cover plumbing expenses, anything raised beyond the plumbing costs will go to funeral expenses or to relieve medical debt.

And I’ll see you tomorrow for what was definitely the most surprising part of our trip . . . 
P.S. The Chocolate Chip Rosary extravaganza today for the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was the. best. I love, love, loved seeing all of your smiling little kiddos with their chocolate chip rosaries on Facebook and Instagram. How cool is it to be Catholic?!