This website uses technical and assimilated cookies as well as user-profiling third party cookies in a grouped format to simplify online navigation and to protect the use of services. To find out more or to refuse consent to the use of one or any of the cookies, click here. Closing this banner, browsing this page or clicking on anything will be taken as consent to the use of cookies.

Close
Maltese Association

Order of Malta

News

Maltese Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2019

02/05/2019 

 
Preface

Like every year on the first weekend in May, some 7400 people, including over 1300 malades, peacefully invaded the Marian sanctuary on the foothills of the Pyrenees for the most important of the Order’s pilgrimages.

Below is a collection of experiences

 

Pilgrims

 

My son’s volunteering with the cadets in this year’s pilgrimage was all I needed to take the opportunity to go to Lourdes with the Order – something I had wanted to do for a long time.
 
My interest in the pilgrimage developed throughout my years of contact with members of the Order – beautiful ladies who give a service in Oncology, and with whom I would have brief chats when I used to go to the kitchen at Boffa, to make myself some tea in between sessions with patients – ladies whom I grew to love and admire. I would watch their faces light up when they spoke about Lourdes and their work with the sick there.
 
My primary intention was to take the opportunity to have four days to myself and do my own thing, however, more and more, I felt drawn to joining the activities of the Order. At the end of the first Mass, when the congregation joined in the prayer of the Order, I was suddenly struck by the enormousness of the venture – the way the Order had mobilised so many people to come together with a common aim – to serve. I am aware that each would have also had their own motives to join the pilgrimage in the various roles, but at that moment those motives took second place. Collectively we were injecting love into a world overrun by greed and the lust for power. It gave me hope. They say miracles happen in Lourdes!
 
This realisation deepened during the following days with the experiences of both a religious and a social nature. People were coming together, connecting, serving, caring. The Pontifical Mass on Sunday brought together members of the Order, volunteers, the sick, and pilgrims from all over the world. I was filled with a sense of awe at the power of the collective. It was a huge spiritual force, one that confirmed my belief that the only way our chaotic world can heal, is through people connecting through love, a genuine caring for the other and a desire to be truly of service – that WE were being invited to be the miracle!


Dr. Benna Chase
Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist

 


 

Children’s Program

 

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Order of Malta – Maltese Association, for giving us the opportunity to join in this pilgrimage to Lourdes.  I went on this spiritual journey together with my mother to accompany my son Isaac who has a rare neuromuscular genetic condition, and multiple food allergies.

The pilgrimage was organized extremely well, with all our needs being addressed in the most caring way. The volunteers are not only humbly dedicated to the work assigned to them, they also make sure that you feel part of a loving family.  It was such a fantastic experience, especially since Isaac received his first holy communion in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.  The occasion was special in itself, but made even more special by the volunteers and pilgrims accompanying us.  The grotto and its surroundings are a slice of heaven, where you tend to let go of all your troubles in the hands of Our Lady, and renew your faith in the promises of God to his children.  It is a place where you can feel the faith of thousands, and be part of this collective prayer and devotion. 

The children’s programme offered, also included some fun outings for kids that made their time in Lourdes even more exciting. Isaac made so many new friends from amongst the volunteers, cadets and fellow pilgrims and had so much fun, that he needed a lot of convincing to actually come back. I have also made new friends and together we shared not only inspiring experiences but also moments of joy, laughter and spiritual healing.  This is an experience that will never be forgotten by either Isaac or myself.


Karen Buttigieg
Lecturer

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Je vous salue Marie 

My experience with the Order of Malta, on our pilgrimage to Lourdes is steeped in reverence, altruism, dedication and love. As I sit here writing this testimonial I’m reminded of the generosity of spirit and dedication I witness each time I go. From the moment I put on my uniform with my crisp white veil and cloak, as I make my way to the airport, I feel a sense of purpose, of fulfilling my duties as an act of love, of giving back, and yet each time I journey there with my sorrelle, I feel I’m receiving so much more than what I’m giving. 

The organization is flawless and imbued with the perfect balance of tradition and religiosity, the members at every rank impeccably turned out in service of our Lords the Sick. I form part of the children’s team, were we are each assigned a patient and a member of their family. The resilience of these children and all they have endured is inspiring and encourages one to view ones’ life with perspective. The mundane complaints of daily life, pale in comparison to the trials and tribulations these families endure, who notwithstanding their sorrows are filled with the greatest faith in Our Lady as she intercedes on their behalf.

Making this pilgrimage blesses me with a profound sense of peace, I call it “finding my peace”. This usually gives me the strength to face my own life’s trials and recharge once again until my next pilgrimage. Although our schedule is quite intensive it is also so very rewarding. It is an experience I most heartedly recommend to all to do at least once in your lifetime, for in the act of giving you yourself are receiving so much more. As I recall the teachings of my Alma Mater “Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I place my trust in thee” 

 

Nicolette Mifsud
Volunteer

 


 

Visiting Commitee

 

Joining the Order’s Lourdes pilgrimage is not a choice, it is Our Lady calling us.

Having volunteered in Refectory for a few years, it was time to change to the Visitors Committee.

This presented a chance to get to know Our Lords the Sick on a more personal note. Those malades who did not feel they needed a siesta after their activities would be visited. We would chat informally about all matters. Friendships seem to build up instantly amongst people who were strangers till they shared a room. Mornings could be spent running the odd errand for their needs.

May we all carry the peace we find in Lourdes in our hearts on our return.

 

Corrine Dingli

 


 

Wards

 

In 2018 I was encouraged to come to Lourdes to assist the Knights, Dames and volunteers of the Order of Malta in the annual pilgrimage. My initial interest in joining the pilgrimage was to learn more about the Order and its workings – however once I experienced its true essence, my attention drastically shifted. The personal suffering, faith and healing I’ve witnessed has been transformative and I can only be thankful to have been a contributor in some small way. The relationships that I have developed with other volunteers has been truly uplifting. The magic that happens when people come together for a common mission is remarkable. Volunteers come from all walks of life but when we dawn our uniforms to aid Our Lords the Sick, we are all the same and with full purpose.

 

Damon Camilleri Allan
Volunteer

 


 

Cadets

 

I am extremely glad that we managed to encourage our students to join this pilgrimage. It is not every day you find 14 year old boys willing to take on the task of helping out with the sick and elderly.

We hope to encourage more students in future as I feel it is a huge learning experience for them and helps them realise what voluntary work entails as well as helping them to be more aware of people, youngsters in particular, who are less fortunate than they are.

 

Maria Rita Opauski
Stella Maris Teacher

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Firstly I have to say thank you in the name of the whole group for this enriching experience. For our students this has been an exercise of altruism which, coming from them, is so genuine.

In our society it is becoming very rare for such shows of generosity. They have learnt a lot and loved a lot. They learnt to tolerate and be disciplined even if for a few days. I do hope this movement of youths joining in, keeps on growing every year.

 

Marisa Abela
Stella Maris Teacher

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Being in Lourdes was a great experience, thanks to the teachers that gave me this opportunity.

 

Bradley Suda
Stella Maris Student

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

When I was going to Lourdes I wasn’t sure if I was going to have fun but by the end I wished that we were still there, the group was very good except for the few fights we had with each other. All the malades were special and it was a wonderful experience! I hope to be able to repeat this experience again, and thanks to our teachers for this opportunity.

 

Jeremy
Stella Maris Student

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

It was my first experience in Lourdes, and it is one I will never forget. It is a beautiful place to visit, and it was lovely transporting Our Lords the Sick to several different places. We had two beautiful processions with all the people from different countries present. It was a great experience, and I really hope to go back there again in the not so distant future.

 

Carla Depasquale
San Anton Student

 


 

Refectory

 

Pilgrimages to Lourdes with the Order of Malta have always been special to me and my family. Being the third generation to be able to be part of this wonderful experience has been a privilege.

This year I was lucky enough to help in the Refectory where we serve Our Lords the Sick their Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.There is nothing quite like the relationship we build with Our Lords the Sick while working with them and helping them during their stay in Lourdes. I was able to get to know them as individuals. We laughed together, we sang together and we even cried together. After just 5 days I was blessed with being given so much more than I gave.

Like a family at home, mealtimes are a time when everyone comes together to share their thoughts and experiences. As a Refectory team we did our utmost to give individual attention to Our Lords the Sick.
No matter how early our wake up calls were, the sheer joy, excitement and gratitude expressed by Our Lords the Sick made all our hard work worthwhile.

At the end of each pilgrimage I can’t help but look forward to the next!

There is something special about going to Lourdes with the Order of Malta every May…..

 

Phi Paris
Volunteer

 


 

Our Lords The Sick

 

My visit to Lourdes was an experience which I shall cherish for the rest of my life. Not only because I was fortunate to have arrived on my 49th Birthday, which was also rather special, (“If Our Lady wants you – She shall have you” – Thank you Karen Miller) but because of the powerful feeling and energy I experienced from the moment I arrived at the Sanctuary.

A feeling of belonging – Home. The energy, the hum of bliss, contentment. The relaxation of the ambience and therapeutic landscape. The powerful overwhelming feeling within, which brought me to tears and elation simultaneously. The rush of butterflies continually in my entire being, from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, in every cell and fibre of my being. The connection with the ‘Divine’ in its sublime entirety of love, peace and excitement. The icy cold pools, which no longer felt cold, but somehow warming, cleansing, replenishing, rejuvenating. An immense, incomprehensible physical, mental and spiritual oneness with a higher force. The Divine God Force!

Thank you to each and every soul involved and for being a part of my holistic experience. The miracle, I know it was, and is.

 

Johanna Dickson Brincat
Our Lords the Sick