Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lourdes - Day 7

Thursday morning we were up early to assist the pilgrims as usual. When everyone had eaten breakfast, we headed out for a tour of town to visit some of the places Bernadette had lived. We stopped at a little tiny museum and saw a model of what the town used to look like, something Bernadette had embroidered, her handwriting, and her shoes. Then we headed into town and saw the mill their family lived at when they were better off and the jail they moved to when they were evicted from their mill. We also showed the pilgrims door where St. Bernadette ran to when she was told by Our Lady, “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
After the tour Liz, Gabe, Mike, Joseph and I went made our way back to the Accueil and stopped at a little shop so Liz and Gabe could get rosaries and postcards. We brought them back for lunch and then the pilgrims rested in the early afternoon.
While they were resting, Marlene, the kitchen staff, and the second shift for lunch (“the guys”) had set up a little “thank you tea” for the student volunteers. We were served bread and two kinds of cheeses that Bernadette would have eaten and then Marlene told us the proper way to make a cup of tea:
1) pour boiling water into a cup to heat the cup, then dump out
2) pour boiling water into a cup and place tea bag in water – do not squeeze
3) remove tea bag without squeezing
4) place sugar cubes in and let them dissolve – do not stir until dissolved
5) add milk and stir
6) enjoy!
The tea time was quiet enjoyable…mostly because I sat with Gabe. The cheese was gross though.
After tea time, the pilgrims prepared to go to Mass with an Anointing of the Sick Service. It was a Mass just for us in the St. Joseph’s Chapel and it was so beautiful to see the pilgrims line up for the anointing of the sick. Most of the student volunteers were crying because it was so beautiful. Following Mass, we lined up two by two for the Eucharistic Procession. It started outside across the river from the grotto and wound its way around to the underground basilica. It was so powerful to see the sick pilgrims get down on their knees to beg God for a miracle and thank him for answering their prayers.

After dinner, there was a talent show for the entertainment of all present. For Act I, the students sang songs, did skits and told jokes. Some of the pilgrims even got up and sang or told stories. A group of French people came in and they sang some African songs and had their faces painted black. Apparently each year they dress as a different nationality and sing songs for North American Lourdes Volunteers. Then we had Act II which was basically an open floor for any impromptu talents. It was great fun and it provided a lot of laughs. After the talent show, there was a departure meeting for the students before we had to hurry back to Ave Maria before the doors locked at midnight.

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