Maltese Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes
(1st – 5th May 2015)
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Every first weekend of May, nearly 4,000 Knights and Dames from all over the world travel to Lourdes to learn firsthand what belonging to the Order of Malta really means – devotion, service, and camaraderie. Dressed in distinctive uniforms and ministering to the Sick and Persons with Special Needs (also referred to as “Our Lords the Sick”), the Members of the Order form an international community of faith and service given with love.
Making the pilgrimage can be a profound religious experience. Linked as it is with hands-on service, the pilgrimage offers unique spiritual gifts to all. Knights, Dames and volunteers are assigned to various duties assisting the malades from early morning into the evening. There are doctors and nurses and personnel assisting 24/7 throughout the pilgrimage. The schedule is full, but very rewarding, and there is also time for reflection and relaxation. In addition to being a tremendous spiritual experience, the pilgrimage can also be a very enjoyable time. We welcome all those interested, their friends and young people to join us and share this amazing and unique experience! For more information please contact the Secretariat Office on telephone numbers 21 226919 or 21 246406 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
History of Lourdes
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In 1858, in a cave, named Massabielle, situated in Lourdes in the Pyrénées of southern France, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on eighteen occasions to Bernadette Soubirous, a very poor, 14-year-old girl. The first of the apparitions took place on February 11th and the last on July 16th.
The lady – wearing a white dress with a blue sash and with gold roses at her feet -asked that a chapel be built on the site of the vision and told Bernadette to drink from a fountain in the Grotto. “Go, drink of the waters and bathe yourself there.” Though no fountain was to be seen, when Bernadette dug at a spot designated by the apparition a spring began to flow.
The water from this still-flowing spring has shown remarkable healing power, though it contains no curative property that science can identify. And, still today, the Blessed Mother encourages us to approach the waters of grace with confidence.
Despite intense opposition by the civil authorities, the Grotto where the apparitions occurred became a site of miraculous healings from the very beginning. After careful examination, the Catholic Church declared the events at Lourdes worthy of belief and has encouraged Catholics to pray to our Lady of Lourdes. It, however, does not insist that Catholics believe this historical event as an Article of Faith.
The Church has officially recognized 69 miracles—the last of which occurred in 1989. The International Medical Committee of Lourdes, a group of about 20 physicians, has certified another 2,000 unexplained cures. Many of the pilgrims are sick, hoping for physical healing and often experience interior miracles—people who are ill, even dying, who are able to leave Lourdes with an inner peace they did not before experience: “Anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never thirst again: the water that I shall give will turn into a spring within them, welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14