Everyone was up early again on Monday for French breakfast! We headed over to the Accueil and broke up into our small groups to learn more about our jobs. We had a medical meeting with nurse Carol and she discussed the patient pilgrims and their medical needs with us. It was very informational. We all had lunch and then we started setting up for the Pilgrims. We went to the Guadalupe house and when we got there, we waited outside for a few minutes. Suddenly Rose started running through the group saying “I am the Immaculate Conception!” She ran up to this door and knocked on it and Pat came around the corner and was pretending to be the priest who didn’t believe Bernadette. The door that Rose had knocked on was the same door that Bernadette ran to and knocked on to tell the priest that the lady had said “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
We went into the Guadalupe house and brought out suit cases, boxes, bags, chairs and carts to bring to the Accueil. We looked like the craziest group of people walking through the streets of Lourdes with suit cases, bulging bags, grocery carts, and trays. When we brought it all to the Accueil, we had to sort it out and put it all away. Everyone was helping so the process went rather quickly which was great because the Pilgrims were arriving around 4pm.
All the volunteers were waiting outside with wheelchairs and signs and we were practicing our welcome sing. There was so much excitement amongst the students that I don’t think we could have been more excited. The bus finally pulled up and we all started waving and clapping and singing Salve Regina! We brought wheelchairs over and greeted the pilgrims as they came off the buses. The girls brought the pilgrims to their rooms and the guys brought the luggage up and delivered it to everyone. We all made our way upstairs for Mass in chapel that John Paul II celebrated Mass in when he stayed in Lourdes. At the beginning of Mass, the volunteers all made their oath of service and received a pin. It was a beautiful little ceremony.
A few of us left Mass early to set up for dinner and then pilgrims came down to eat. I headed off to eat in the caf so I could be back for my dinner clean up shift. We cleared tables, washed tables, and swept…basically a bus person job! I stayed around until about 10:30 to help with random jobs and to deliver messages to some of the nurses. It was a long day but we were all so happy the pilgrims had finally arrived.