Friday, August 12, 2011

Healing waters

Back again with much more of this incredible spirit filled day. (To be honest I've already lost track of what day it is. Oh my!)

First I have to share this amazing rendition of St. Bernadette. It is composed of small pictures of people.

Following the penance service this morning, many of our group from the diocese decided to join the hundreds of other pilgrims at the healing baths, yours truly among them. I must say that was the most spirit driven experience I have encountered thus far.

As many men as women lined the benches as they waited in private and communal prayer to be dipped into the baths. The spring water of the bath was extremely cold but the kind hearts who assisted us were as warm as sunshine. I personally took my family in my heart as I walked into the bath for healing purposes and found a physical and spiritual healing for myself as well.

One pilgrim reported that she felt warmth in the frigid waters. Another felt the presence of God there. I think we all experienced our own connection with the powerful love and mercy of God as we journeyed with the Eucharist, penance and healing waters today. It continues to amaze me how much we have experienced both spiritually and physically (oh! my aching feet!) in such a short time.

Lunch was free time and we dined on unbelievably delicious pizza and shopped for gifts to wow you all upon our return. Can't tell you what we found but know you will love it! Poor Claire tried what looked like a jelly bean but was in fact something as hard as a pebble. Yes, they sell these in various sized packages. We bought her a gelato to help her forget the trauma of it all.

The entire group met again at 5 p.m. beside the basilica to pray the Way of the Cross High Stations. Now, I have witnessed some beautiful Stations in the US, but you have never seen the likes of the inspired Stations of Lourdes that are larger than life and are placed along a winding trail up the mountain.

The walk was both challenging and redeeming and the reverence of the group was palpable. It was a moving event that fit with perfection in this day.

We decided to use some free time before dinner to see the remaining chapels in the basilica. Stunning holy ground!

Following dinner back at the hotel, the pilgrims journeyed back to the complex for the torch light procession at 9 p.m., which began with hundreds of pilgrims carrying candles while reverently following a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. The rosary was recited as we walked together in many different languages and I witnessed the universality of our Church with both eye and ear. God is good — for everyone. The youth and young adults in the procession were touched by this solemn event and I found them praying and singing with ferver. This retreat is definitely changing hearts.

And to finish the day in splendar, a gelato stop on the way home truly grounded us in the goodness of the Lord.

Now, my promised personal stories...

One young woman in our group witnessed the torch light procession last night and then decided to pray at the grotto. She was distracted by the crying babies and the general noise that surrounded her. As she prayed to Our Lady, she humbly asked that Mary might quiet her mind — and the young pilgrim immediately "heard" a quiet. "It became silent," she said, "a Divine silence." As she rested in that peace, she continued to pray as tears of gratitude streaked her face. She says that experience began for her an incredible journey of the soul. "It was awesome!" she declared.

A seminarian approached me today after the penance service, which by the way healed many hearts, to joyfully report that at the late night adoration at the grotto a woman approached him to take his hands in hers. She simply looked into his eyes and smiled. As he gazed at her, he offered, "Peace," to which she responded in kind. Then she walked away. "It was a simple and beautiful exchange," he said. "An encounter of the great love of God. It touched my heart and was just what I needed in this time of my life." 

What can I say??? God IS good!

May our Blessed Mother touch your hearts as she is touching ours. 

See you tomorrow!


  1. Thank you for your gift to our pilgrims - your posts must allow them to enter fully into the spirituality of this event without worrying about letting us at home know how things are going! We appreciate hearing about this experience and are keeping you all in prayer.
    Laura's mom

  2. Thanks so much Kay! We are loving the updates and praying for all of you on your pilgrimage!

  3. I just signed up for the digital (instead of paper) version of Today's Catholic. We are praying for you all from Fort Wayne! Please pray for my family in a special way as we prepare to welcome a new baby very soon (due today, actually, but he or she will come out when ready!). We're already thinking of dates for the Baptism. God bless you all in your journey!

  4. Kay,
    Thanks so much for letting us follow you all on your pilgrimage. It sounds absolutely amazing so far and we are praying that the rest of the trip continues to be spiritual and blessed. We love to hear about the journey you're on and are looking forward to more!
    God Bless you,
    Scott & Sharon Hinderman and family

  5. Kay - thank you for posting all this wonderful information! My daughter is on this trip and I have been craving some information about what they are doing, where they are going, and pictures! But she only has a little blackberry and only posts a sentence or two every day. She said she is so busy there is barely time to do that - but she is keeping good notes in her journal to share with our church when they get back. In the meantime, I really appreciate your posts!

    Thanks for taking the time to keep us up to date - Kay! I am just in awe over what the kids are experiencing! We are all praying for you all to have a very blessed journey, and a safe trip back home. God Bless!

  6. Kay, you are doing a fabulous job with the blog! You are doing such a great job, that the only bad thing is you keep us thirsty for more ;). Thank you so much for giving of your time and talent to allow us back home to "be there" on the journey with you! Thank you so much!