Maltese Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2014
2nd – 6th May
Maltese Association Pilgrimage Director
Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata
A great achievement can only be completed through magnificent teamwork. That is exactly what I experienced this year.
I am most honoured, and deeply moved, to have, once again, been the director of the Maltese Association’s pilgrimage to Lourdes this year. However, the merit for the success of this year’s pilgrimage – and I indeed feel it was hugely successful – is due to the many ladies and gentlemen who devoted so much time and effort towards the preparation and execution of this mammoth annual event.
It is therefore doubly rewarding to finally kneel at Our Lady’s feet in the silence of the Lourdes grotto to give thanks for the blessings She has showered on us, and for Her call – once again – to Her ‘home’ in the Pyrenees.
To all the members and volunteers who participated – thank you for your time and efforts.
To all Our Lords the Sick – thank you for allowing us to witness Our Lord in You.
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Sanctuary is a destination for pilgrimage; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water. In contrast to the grandness of Rosary Square and the various basilicas, the Grotto of Massabielle, also known as the Miraculous Cave or the Cave of Apparitions, is very simple and stark and this is the very place where St Bernadette’s visions took place in 1858. The Blessed Virgin is said to have pointed out a previously undiscovered spring at the grotto and instructed Bernadette to drink from it.
The recess of the grotto itself is undecorated, although a plain stone altar and lectern have been placed there so that Mass can be said. Above the main recess is the niche where the apparitions took place and Fabisch’s statue now stands. A large stand of candles next to the altar is kept burning during the season.
Maltese Association President
Once again hard work and excellent organisation paid well. This year’s pilgrimage to Lourdes was a resounding success where all pilgrims and Our Lords the Sick expressed their gratitude and satisfaction. The contingent numbered two hundred and eighty, sixty of whom were sick patients, eighty were pilgrims and the rest were members of the Order and dedicated volunteers. There is always much trepidation before leaving since so many things can go wrong but then the Good Lady of Lourdes always sees us through the difficulties and helps us solve them. I cannot but thank all the volunteers and the members of the Lourdes Organising Committee for all their hard work. Last but certainly not least, I thank all those generous souls who financially helped Our Lords the Sick join us on this wonderful pilgrimage to Lourdes.
A comment by one of our special VIP guest at the airport on our way back to Malta…
“I forgot my sufferings.” and these four words moved me tremendously.
Children’s Programme Chaplain
Fr Savio Vella SDB
Lourdes has become our second home. We all look forward to our annual visit to the place of Our Lady. Those of us on the Children’s programme, this pilgrimage has become a true roller coaster of emotions. We joke and laugh, we build relationships with the children and their families, we make new friends, we cry with them as we listen to their stories of anguish and sorrow, we worry for the children, we give them our hearts as we pray to our Lady for them, and we struggle to find time for ourselves as we remember that we have our needs as well. All in all, it is a time when we really experience what love demands of us.
Love has to be lived and experienced, and if it is modeled on the love of God for each one of us, then its essence is total self giving. As we celebrate the Sunday Mass for the children, which has now been firmly established in our pilgrimage, we are all taken through this experience of love. Conscious of the nature of the group, and as we become one with the suffering children and their parents, we all experience this tide of emotions, which make us realize what a tremendous gift God has given us – the gift of His own Son who suffered and died for us. We become one with God and with each other. We become suffering children, saddened parents, joyful Christians, loving persons. We experience suffering, but we also get a taste of what and where Heaven is.
Children’s Programme Personnel
The children’s program is put together with care and love and offers a unique time for us, in the presence of Our Most Beloved Mother, where we place in Her loving arms the sufferings of the children who accompany us. It has been a privilege for me to share their journey, in a little way, over these few days where there was so much confirmation by us all that our true riches lie in the love God pours into our hearts and in His promises that abundantly fill our faith. Despite their suffering, the children were so happy to play together with laughter and love freely enjoyed. The parents and families, generously shared encouragement, support and friendship with each other, experiencing an amazing bond for such a short time. We all shared a special joy in the love we felt for each other and in spending time with Our Lady whose ever more beautiful maternal love ministered to our hearts in ways that cannot be described but were felt and witnessed.
Mother of a Teenage Patient
Legoland, Disneyland, London, Rome – well probably the usual popular trips any family with growing kids would go for. Until May 2nd of this year, these would have been among our best holiday trips with the family.
Honestly speaking, with a son in his first year of teens, and the onset of changes that teenage brings about, never would I have imagined that Lourdes, would have been so enjoyable and would leave such a positive imprint on all our family.
As human beings, we tend to plan life according to our dreams and goals, however, life does not always present itself as we wish. Occasionally we may be faced with situations which we would never have ever thought of, not in a million years. However, the pilgrimage to Lourdes, gave a totally different meaning to such a situation.
Notwithstanding the hardships and constant worries that one carries in times of difficulty, the feeling of serenity overcomes you when you stand there, still, in front of the Grotto, is unexplainable. One just forgets the turmoil and doubts that are often brought about by unexpected situations. All questions that cross ones mind might still not be answered, but are overcome by the feeling of tranquility and serenity that is bestowed on anyone entering the Grotto.
I myself, am not a woman of many courage, and my concern was that I will not be up to seeing waves of malades without being emotional. Never through the whole pilgrimage did I experience such feelings. All worries are washed away and no thought is spared in doubt, on the contrary, such ill-feelings are replaced by courage and faith – the Miracle of Lourdes – a feeling that one will never be able to express unless one has had an experience in Lourdes. I now fully understand a sorella, who, during the Pilgrimage opening mass, told me that it was her fourteenth pilgrim to Lourdes and wouldn’t miss it for the world !!!
As a family, the pilgrim helped us to delve deeper into our inner self and strengthen our trust in God. It helped us to believe that, although God’s plans are, more often then not, misunderstood due to our human ‘faults’, together with the intervention of Our Lady, He is always there for us and He will never abandon us during our journey here on Earth.
The pilgrim was appealing even to the children and what struck me was the right mingle of the fun activities for the children with the spiritual events. The masses were incredibly moving, and so enjoyable to the children – very much unlike their usual restlessness, where they are normally counting the minutes for mass to be over!! The animation with clapping, singing, dancing and a vivid ‘Puttinu’ story, so aptly recited, enthralled the children throughout Sunday mass.
Not only has the pilgrimage strengthened our faith but it has built a strong bond with our fellow pilgrims and a deeper understanding and acceptance to anything that might come our way.
We would like to thank the Order for all the hard work that goes in organizing such a Pilgrimage, but mostly for making this pilgrimage an event which we will all treasure, memories which we will take refuge in, during times of difficulty.
Sharon, Aldo, Antonio and Francesco
Lourdes Pilgrimage 2014
Mother of Child Patient
In May 2014, my daughter Leah and I were so lucky to have been invited on a trip to Lourdes, with the Order of Malta – Maltese Association. Our trip was breath taking and awe- inspiring from start to finish. We arrived in Lourdes to be greater by our very own beautiful room, amazing activities planned each day which were so well organised.
The children enjoyed it so much, you could see their eyes lighten up with excitement and they were entertained from breakfast until bedtime each day! Three of the children had their holy communion they were so beautiful in their white dress and suits. When we had the morning mass in chapel Notre Dame , all the people in the chapel filled their eyes with tears, wishing best for all the children.
We also had a picking in the mountains, so wonderful time, amazing views. Next day we visited the zoo, we had such a great time.
When we went to the Piscines, where people get into the blessed water , it was breath taking experience. It revitalised my faith, courage and strength for supporting Leah’s wellbeing. Each day we went to mass and prayed , it felt so peaceful , even by just being there. Truly inspirational was the Marian Procession aux flambeaux , which was in the evening. We walked long way carrying lit candles, wishing love, peace wealth to all. I had two candles, one for myself and one for Leah.
On our last day there was party and present for every child. It was so thoughtful and every aspect was full of warmth and positive energy. All children were awarded with a medal by the Grand Master, They all felt so very proud. Leah kept wearing hers and showing it to everyone.
Fr Savio , talked to all of us giving very inspirational words, words of great wisdom that filled me with faith and strength.
After so much time in hospital over the past few years to be around the pure air, the green trees and crystal water , we felt so lucky and blessed. The memories from this trip will stay with me forever.
All the volunteers were incredible. They were so kind, helpful and carrying looking well after all the patients and supporting us on this emotional journey. I cannot thank enough to who organised this once in a life time experience for us.
We pray every day for Leah’s continued recovery and thank God for those who have supported us on this journey. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE…
My decision to help the Order as a Volunteer in its annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes has indeed been a unique experience. I was one of the members of the trasporti team. My duties consisting of helping with the day to day transport of the Sick.
These duties made me realise more than ever before what great satisfaction one feels when giving that little bit back to those who are less fortunate than myself. I therefore take this opportunity to urge those young men and women out there to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those who are going through such difficult times. This was my first visit to Lourdes and will surely not be last I look forward to joining the Order again next May and giving my small contribution to such a great and fulfilling cause.
Finally I must congratulate the Order for their impeccable organization
My experience in Lourdes
When I returned for my second year at Lourdes a fellow helper stated: “You’re back, so you got the bug?” I wasn’t sure at first what to reply, I had returned for several reasons; family, friends and the patients were on top of my list. The camaraderie between the different factions, the smile on the patients faces and the gratification of helping others were just some of my reasons for returning. At least so I thought. There are no wrong reasons for experiencing the pilgrimage to Lourdes, only those that are important to you. It does not matter why one goes to Lourdes, it only matters that you do. You will be moved by the spiritual connection between yourself, the patients and God.
On my first trip I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the location, by the sheer amount of people, patients and helpers alike, and by the experience shared between my patient and myself. I felt all the emotions mentioned earlier and more. I knew right away this is something for me for the rest of my life.
So when I returned, I naturally expected to have the same feelings, but I have never been more wrong. I found that with experience, even if it is just one trip, everything becomes amplified and intensified. It was even more fantastic to once again see friends and family engaging in selfless acts, it was great to put on the uniform and feel pride of being part of such an engaging organization. It was immensely gratifying to see the smiles of Our Lords the Sick when you help them in gaining a stronger connection to God. There is something very personal, very private that I feel when I arrive in Lourdes. It is not so much an emotion but the knowledge that for a week I will devote myself entirely to God, Our Lords the Sick , my family, friends and fellow helpers. Though there is a selfish gratification in helping others, a normal reaction in most people, it is not an important factor in returning. It is merely a byproduct of being in Lourdes.
So what can I conclude about this bug? I can say that it is the aforementioned emotions and experiences all in one. That going just once is not enough, whether you intend to or not, you will catch this bug and return. I can say that Lourdes is the most important week of the year and that missing this incredible experience is not an option. Not for me, for the patients or for everyone participating. This is why I will always return and why I can proudly say Yes, I got the bug and I love it!
My personal experience doing trasporti:
I enjoy trasporti so much because I am able to receive the same joy of what the patients are experiencing at the moment of time when taken to functions etc. Being close to the patients during trasporti is so special too as they are also relaxed and tend to pour out their heart-breaking stories so by offering them a pat on the shoulder or a big hug gives me more and more courage to march on in life and deepen my faith more and more.
If ever possible, everyone should visit The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or where you come from. A visit to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a life changing experience. If that can ever be topped, a visit to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes as a volunteer with the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Maltese Association) is the only thing that can.
Every first weekend in May Lourdes is practically taken over by thousands of volunteers of The Order of Malta from all over the world.
Every national Association organises the annual pilgrimage to take a number of sick persons (Our Lords the Sick), young and old, to visit Our Lady in The Grotto.
This global manifestation of solidarity is only made possible because of the Members of The Order of Malta and its volunteers.
All Members and volunteers are to wear their uniform at all times wherever they are in Lourdes – one can just imagine the strongest sense of solidarity and camaraderie that engulfs Lourdes for those special few days.
People ask me what’s its like – I never really answer the question – Lourdes effects every one of us in a different way – always in a way that is very hard to describe but wonderful to experience.
There’s the Grotto, the Baths, the Basilica, the Pontifical High Mass, the Marian procession aux flambeaux, the chapel for Adoration, the river, the cafes, the restaurants, the (tacky) souvenir shops, the castle, the stunning countryside and the unpredictable weather – but Lourdes with Maltese Association is always and only about one thing – Our Lords the Sick.
Going to Lourdes is an unforgettable experience which I shall treasure all my life. Recently I have been going on the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, organized by Maltese Association. This pilgrimage helps many people experience the love and peace that is lacking in our lives. It enables those who are physically or mentally sick to find comfort in this heavenly place. Many volunteers help to make this pilgrimage a success and everyone has a specific duty to perform.
My duties mainly included helping in the refectory as part of a team. Helping in the refectory is a rewarding and marvelous experience which allows one to feel and understand the joys and sorrows of these people. Seeing their happy faces and their gratitude for the little that I do for them makes me very humble but very happy.
Thank you Our Lady for your love, for your guidance and for looking after us all throughout our stay in Lourdes.
On Thursday 25th February 1858, the Blessed Virgin, asked Bernadette “Go drink at the spring and wash yourself there.” Since then people have never ceased going on pilgrimage to Lourdes. The first Piscines in Lourdes were constructed in 1955.
It is an honour and more than a privilege to be able to meet, help, pray and serve these inspirational remarkable individuals, Our Lords the Sick and pilgrims coming from all over the world. After hearing the many stories of phenomenal healing having taken place through the magic powers of the miraculous water, the fervent faith and amazing hope can be seen in every pair of eyes who visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady and the Baths.
Working in the Baths is a spiritual awakening process. Numerous pilgrims go through the experience of the baths in a day, and it happens so fast that it makes one wonder how is it possible to connect and pray to Our Lady in just a few minutes. The procedure in itself is very simple and the Sick and Pilgrims are tactfully treated with great care and gentleness. It is a special and unique experience where a person’s dignity and decorum is always protected and safeguarded and what happens in the Baths only happens with the individual’s full consent. On their way out of the Baths, both Pilgrims and The Sick look so serene and one cannot help noticing that Our Lady’s love has touched their hearts. Working in the baths, for me is seeing Our Lady just like a ‘Florence Nightingale’, busy at work, nursing the physically sick and tending the poor broken hearts , using her healing balm to cover the bodily and psychological wounds of all those who yearn for Her care and crave for Her love. Before every service, when we are in prayer, we all ask Our Lady to let us be Her hands and wear Her smile and to give us the right words to be able to comfort the pilgrims who come to visit Her. Our Lady’s love continuously flows like the water coming from the miraculous spring and Her mantle of Love covers all the wounds, soothes all the aches and alleviates all the pains of those who seek Her.
The gift of Our Lady’s little miracles has never ceased to show its presence… “If you would not believe Me, believe the works I do.” and Lourdes certainly is a living testimony of the intense faith and profound devotion towards Our Lady, the Blessed Mother of Jesus.
Wards Team Leader
The Order of Malta’s Annual Pilgrimage to Lourdes requires months of detailed and intricate planning in order to ensure all runs smoothly and that Our Lords the Sick are able to have the best possible experience – spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Working on Wards in the Accueil – the place which is a cross between a Hospital and a Hostel – where our Patients stay is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Our work involves waking our Patients in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee. Medication is then give out by our Medical Staff and after this, those who need it, are slowly helped to get washed and dressed in time for breakfast, after which, they are usually off to some function. Most of our Patients are able bodied, but a little TLC goes a long way and small things like helping someone put on their socks/tights and shoes is often all that is required.
Once Our Lords the Sick have left the Ward we begin our daily task of cleaning – bathrooms have to be thoroughly cleaned – showers, toilets, mirrors etc. Bedrooms need to be dusted, beds made and sheets changed where necessary, floors swept and washed – all this with copious amounts of disinfectant and windows wide open to let in the fresh air! Laundry, when needed, is also done at this time. Afternoons are easier as there is no cleaning to be done, however, our Patients always need attention – whether it be to change a nappy, give someone a quick wash or provide endless cups of tea/coffee and always with a smile and open heart. Stories are shared, tears are shed and smiles abound – this is all part of the service, and done with love and understanding.
Our Ward is manned 24 hours a day, so if someone returns from a function, we are always there to welcome them and spend time with them. The night shift is always there for any situations that may arise with Doctors and Nurses on duty.
We are honoured and blessed to be able to spend such quality time with these very special friends of ours and get to know them intimately over the few days we share in Lourdes. It is always difficult for us all to return home to the reality of everyday life having been through such a special and beautiful experience together.
This was happily my sixth consecutive deployment with the Order on its annual international pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Following my initiation as a barrelliere detailed to Trasporti, I have since always been assigned to ward duties attending to the needs of Our Lords the Sick at the Accueil de Notre Dame. I have never regretted one moment of it.
Ward duty really brings one face to face with the suffering Christ whom one has the privilege of meeting personally in each and every one of our beloved malades.
Unpalatable though it might sound, we must never forget that there is a spiritual dimension to suffering, which reflects Christ’s holy passion. He did after all bid every one of us to drink of his Cup. This is the door through which we must pass unto eternal happiness. Ward duty truly humbles us, and drives home some essential truths.
The Order today focuses on its original hospitaller calling. As a member of the Order I feel that working on the wards is especially valuable since it offers a unique opportunity of truly living out the Order’s charisma of obsequium pauperum.
On our return from Lourdes one feels tired but spiritually and emotionally elated. Into a drawer go the uniforms washed and ironed and already one is looking and thinking forward to the next year’s trip, roll on next May, we will be waiting and ready to go.
During our stay in Lourdes we were given the opportunity to work on the wards looking and caring for our friends the sick. It is an experience where one meets the person in their most humble needs and requirements, therefore one feels that he/she need to be as silent as possible under the circumstances so as to leave all concerned at their ease and at the same time be ready to listen and interact with the patient. The situation is more lively when one is happily serving them teas, coffees and biscuits and spoiling them when they are still resting in bed or taking a break between activities, here the interaction with the patient is as rewarding to us as much as it is to the patient. The smile and thankfulness is so evident on the faces of the sick and this is the greatest reward one can ever ask for. There then comes the time when you can stop and listen to all they have to recount of their daily lives and mostly the ailments afflicting them. The patients feel that they can unload their problems and this is when you feel that you are needed most. Listening with love and tender care and offering the dear Sick support, to Ray and I, who share this experience as a couple, is the most important part of the whole experience. The bond which is created is something that one will cherish for a very long time after landing back in Malta tired but fulfilled.
Ian Attard Portughes
My experience at Lourdes:
I had been asked several times to join other family members who visit Lourdes with the Knights. To be honest, the invitation to what I thought would be a boring prayer trip, had never really appealed to my interest.
Nevertheless I had actually promised my father that I would attend, and thus last year I took a ‘leap of faith’ and joined my mother on one of her yearly visits with the Knights. I was very impressed with the organisation and felt a deep sense of tranquility that one experiences whilst assisting those who are less fortunate.
Being one of amongst 6000 other members of the Knights of Malta, united from all over the world with one common goal to assist the sick and needy, is really quite impressive.
This year I had even managed to convince my brothers and sisters (all 6 of us) to join us. It really turned out to be a wonderful experience for all of us. Working all together as a team had even helped us to get closer as a family, and the experience gave us the opportunity to re-live our younger days when we lived under the same roof.
An experience I would definitely recommend to all.
Spouse of patient Saviour Sant
I am Rita Sant. I would like to thank you all for the wonderful experience.
After the severe operation and illness of my husband, we promised Our Lady of Lourdes to visit Her personally to thank Her if his health permitted. This promise was fulfilled on 2nd May 2014.
The four day pilgrimage was a religious experience not to be forgotten. It was the serenity in our hearts that reined. The sacrament of the Sick gave us strength to live in the footsteps of Christ day by day.
The mass in Maltese at the Grotto was a unique experience. Touching the running water in the Grotta was a moment of faith.
The rosary and singing in many languages at the Aux Flambeaux was a sign of unity among the people of the world. We are all children of the same God and daughters of Lady of Lourdes. During the procession of the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus passed amongst and so near that we could feel his presence, blessing and the healing of our wounds.
My husband and I were staying at Accueil Notre-Dame.
The time all of us shared together was fruitful and meaningful. We shared our pains and sorrows and gave courage to one another. Saviour and I met so many nice brothers and sisters. The help that was given to us by the Knights of St. John and their dedicated helpers was impeccable. We hope to have the opportunity to go again.
We were really treated as ‘Our Lords the Sick’. For this we can only say thank you very much and promise you ALL our prayers.
GOD Bless you all.
Saviour and Rita Sant
Son of patient Alfred Buhagiar
Lourdes has instilled in me a renewed feeling of spirituality which I had not had since my M.U.S.E.U.M. days. Time slowed down and the din of everyday life with its vulture-culture humanity faded away. I was again able to reflect more on the divine rather than the material life I normally live. I really enjoyed the Rosary we contemplated with Mgr Paul Vella on the upper way of the Cross.
I forgot my troubles and tribulations and realized that others are not any better than I am.
The sick showed by example that misfortune strikes when not expected and in spite of this they keep on with their life in the best way they can and this was reflected by the smile on their faces and kind gestures. Their concentration and fervor during prayer was evident and their faith in God was un-waivered.
The members of the S.M.O.M. showed a particular devotion to them in every possible manner. I noticed this both during the functions and during my visits to the hospital in particular.
Yes, I realized that not all is evil around us but there are people who love and live their catholic faith in deed and not just word.
This was our first visit to Lourdes for Dad and me. For Dad it was also to be his last. Sadly, he passed away shortly after returning from the pilgrimage. But at least, through the labour of love from the S.M.O.M. his wish to visit Lourdes came about to be.
Pilgrims Programme Coordinator
Josephine Farrugia Randon
During this year’s pilgrimage to Lourdes, Mr Neville Curmi and myself have once more been assigned the duty to look after the pilgrims at the hotels.
Neville and I worked very well together. Mostly our duty consisted in accompanying the pilgrims to all the various religious functions. Some of the pilgrims were first-time visitors to Lourdes so it was very important that on the first day, as laid out in the programme, we take them on a familiarisation visit of the main sites and shrines within the sanctuary especially the Holy Grotto. This was preceded by a very interesting talk which Neville gave to the pilgrims about what happened in Lourdes in 1858.
On Saturday , being a rainy day and having some time to spare after Mass at the Grotto, we accompanied our pilgrims to watch a film about the life of St. Bernadette which they enjoyed very much. This was followed by a visit to the Boly Inn, Bernadette’s birthplace and the Cachot.
The pilgrims did not hesitate in showing their appreciation to the service that we gave them while in Lourdes. For this we are very grateful first and foremost for the help that we got from Our Lady Herself and also to the organisers of the pilgrimage for laying out such a full and interesting programme.
I feel that for Neville and myself this experience was a way of proclaiming the Gospel by serving and loving others to the best of our abilities, with the help of Our Lady in Her Chosen City.
Pierre and Tonia Cauchi
This was not our first experience to Lourdes. However this was our first as part of a pilgrimage that was specifically intended to accompany the most unfortunate of our brethren to visit Our Lady. Spiritually and emotionally this trip was particularly a wonderful opportunity to bring my wife and myself even closer to Our Lady. We were also extremely touched with the way all the helpers of SMOM dedicated their time to the welfare of Our Lord’s the Sick.
The whole pilgrimage was efficiently organised and carried out and every person involved knew perfectly well what he had to do. It was a pleasure to have taken part.
Thanks to all and may God Almighty shower you with His Grace so that you can continue with the good work you have been doing with Our Lord’s the Sick over the years.
This year was my 10th pilgrimage with the M.A.S.M.O.M. and photography has always been my hobby. I was hooked on taking photos during such pilgrimages at the outset as I wanted to catch the wonderful expressions I was noticing on our Lords the Sick’s faces each time one of the volunteers spoke with them or caressed their faces or arranged a blanket when it was getting cold. The harmony felt between the malades and the volunteers is amazing and by taking pictures I aim to leave a lasting memory of the specific pilgrimage attended.
I appreciate the excellent organisation during the pilgrimages for both our Lords the Sick, all the volunteers and the people who join us. Lourdes is the only place I manage to clear my mind from everyday life. Helping others, through my photos, and knowing that my ‘work’ is appreciated is very satisfying. Of course, the real work starts when we return home. Checking all the photos and choosing about a 150 pictures from over 2000 shot. Arranging them, naming the different occasions they were taken at, burning them on DVD and posting to our Lords the Sick once ready. Lourdes is that special place where one feels calm and good. It’s a place where one realises that nothing is really important in life except one’s inner peace – Lourdes is the place to find it.