We went on holidays. As my children say, mum only goes on holidays to places where there are plenty of churches. That's true. I like the landscape, trees, flowers, nice houses, fresh air but without churches no holiday is good enough for me.
So we went to Lourdes. We has everything booked, plane tickets and hotel, since January - or was it last December ? Anyway, we did it a long time ago. We counted our days and it looked as if there was years before those dreamt holidays in France.
Let me tell you. I went to Paris with my husband in honeymoon, which was like hundreds years ago. The girls never went there or any part of France. England, Spain and Italy several times they did but not France. One of them even went to Morocco and other to Ireland and now it was time to go to France but we didn't go to Lourdes only to go to France, it was the opposite way.
The Catholic world knows Lourdes, if not more, at least the name. It's a town in France, in the Pyrenees, where in the 19th century Our Lady appeared to a girl called Bernadette Soubirous. People interested in the matter can read about it here. It's the recount of the Apparitions. On the history of the place, please go here to know more about it. I can even leave here an excerpt: "Located in the Pyrenees Mountain region of France, Lourdes is the home of one of the most important shrines in the Catholic Faith: the Grotto of Massabielle. Approximately five million pilgrims, of whom a great number are sick or handicapped, come to Lourdes each year. It may be through curiosity, through a desire for a physical cure, in a movement towards belief, or to be of service to those who suffer, that they come to drink the water from the Holy Spring. "
The beauty of its surrounding it's astonishing. Mountains and mountains everywhere we look covered in a delicious green, many times smoothed with fog. The quality of the air and all the beauty around us makes that place a delight for the senses.
And then there is the spiritual side, which makes most people who go there.
I must say that I knew about the Apparitions since I was a child and, as a grown up, I always wanted to go there but the trip was not that easy as we would have to go to Paris and, from there, take the train to the town. But some months ago we had a delightful surprise: direct flights to Lourdes ! We booked at once. And last month we went.
I knew about Lourdes and I even went to interactive maps to know the way to the hotel and to the Sanctuary and all but what I didn't know was what we feel there. I didn't knew what I would feel there ! The strong sense of spiritual is amazing. Only going there we can understand what we feel in Lourdes - and I am used to go to Fátima, so tell be about spiritual !
As Catholics we were so happy to go and we knew it would be wonderful, what we didn't know was that it would be even more wonderful that we could dream. It was like to be in Heaven. The people there, most of them, knew well what they were doing there, they were pilgrims, not tourists. It feels really good to be amongst people like us.
Here we can see the candle procession minutes before its beginning. Every evening at 9 pm there is a Procession with a huge crowd.
Another daily Procession is the one of the Blessed Sacrament from which I almost have no pictures because, due to the most intense sense of the presence of God, I almost haven't took any and the few I have are from the end of the Procession, inside of one of the Basilicas, at the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction and from before it started.
I will leave you mainly with pictures of the outdoors. This crown is the exterior of the cupola of the Basilica of the Rosary. Inside there are fifteen altars with "paintings" representing each one of the Mysteries of the Rosary. I wrote paintings in comas because they are not really paintings, they were made with tiny mosaic. A most astonishing thing !
The church on the right side is called Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. We can see also the dome and entrance of the Basilica of the Rosary on the left.
Look at those stairs. We climbed it but decided that next time we would go by the ramp !
There are ramps on each side full of statues. In this image we can see Saint Anne and young Our Lady. From here we can have amazing views of the river and surroundings.
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the entrance to the Basilica of the Rosary.
It's unforgetable ! I think I must make another post, another day, so you may see more of Lourdes. And maybe you will want to go there. You will not regret it.
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