The Pilgrimage to Lourdes has been a trip that the Oblates of Mary Immaculate have partaken in since 1883. For the past 26 years, the Oblate Youth Service from the Anglo-Irish Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has traveled to Lourdes to help those who make the pilgrimage to Lourdes in hopes of getting better. Many of the pilgrims cannot walk or need assistance, and the OYS members whose ages range from 17 to 30’s are their to help take care of them.
Millions of people travel to the Pyrenees Mountain region of France yearly to visit the Grotto of Massabielle. The Grotto became famous after a little girl named Bernadette Soubirous experienced 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary. There she discovered an underground spring with healing powers. Since Bernadette there have been 67 cases categorized as miracles of Lourdes.
The OYS started with humble beginnings and is no more than 26 years old. In 1980, Fr. Peter Clucas was invited to travel with the ‘overland group’ which consisted of young adults traveling from Spain to Lourdes. The OYS contributes by working with the guests and making their experience as pleasant as possible. They spend long hours in the hospital working with doctors and nurses, but most importantly getting to know those patients. Like the patients, many of the volunteers come back every year and have formed friendships from the pilgrimage. The goal of the Lourdes Pilgrimage is to work with the sick, while developing a personal level of spirituality.
Click here to see more pictures from this year’s pilgrimage.