The annual Lourdes pilgrimage is our response to Our Lady’s request to “come to Lourdes in procession” and “bathe in the spring”. The first Pilgrimage was in 1964, and we have been every year since. It is an amazing, memorable experience, do think about joining us!
Stonyhurst Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2020, 21st – 28th August
Sadly due to the continuing uncertainty there will not be a Stonyhurst Pilgrimage to Lourdes this year. But do visit our Virtual Pilgrimage page, where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Lourdes, see familiar faces and take part in the Rosary, Mass, Night Prayers and much more.
Once again the Stonyhurst Group joined the Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes in August. The number of people visiting Lourdes overall has been dropping for a few years, and the Catholic Association Pilgrimage is smaller than it used to be. But the Stonyhurst group still thrives. As always our Pilgrims were a mixture. The reason we go is to take Assisted Pilgrims, both those fit enough to stay in the hotel with the rest of the group, and those looked after in the Accueil. There are young helpers – current Poets about to enter Rhetoric at the College, Rhetoricians who have just left, young OS, and a few young helpers who are not OS but have joined our group. There are older OS, families of current and past pupils, the all-important staff from the College, and other members of the wider Stonyhurst family. There is more than one family with members of three generations on the Pilgrimage. As always, we were a convivial group – nobody felt excluded, and we quickly settled in to the Pilgrimage routine.
Some people return to Lourdes year after year. What brings them back? The most compelling reason for returning is to do with what you learn on your first visit to Lourdes. Whether you go as a young helper, an Assisted Pilgrim, or someone associated with Stonyhurst wanting to find out what Lourdes is about, the first thing that you learn is that it is better to give than to receive.
Young helpers discover that having people depending on them for help is very rewarding. Assisted Pilgrims may go to Lourdes feeling that in some way they are a burden, and they discover that actually people are glad to help, and that as Assisted Pilgrims they have a lot to offer by talking to their helpers about their experiences in life. People who travel to Lourdes neither as Assisted Pilgrims nor as helpers soon discover that they have a helping role as well – whether they end up providing companionship for other members of the group – or even get roped in rolling wheelchair-bound Assisted Pilgrims. They discover that there is something that that they are glad to give.
Not everyone who goes to Lourdes will return, but nobody who goes to Lourdes will forget it. For some it is life changing – many Assisted Pilgrims who had reached a stage in life where they wondered if they still had a role to play discover a new lease of life. Some young helpers go to Lourdes never imagining that they will enjoy looking after people, and their direction in life changes and takes them into a career such as nursing. And there is more than one Jesuit who received their call to the priesthood in Lourdes.
The Stonyhurst group will return to Lourdes again in 2020. If you are interested in joining, contact Beverley in the Association Office. And if you know someone that may benefit from a Pilgrimage to Lourdes as an Assisted Pilgrim, they will be especially welcome.
This year 136 pilgrims took part in our annual pilgrimage, from babies to age 95! It was a lovely week, the weather being mainly warm and sunny, and as always the week was filled with much laughter. The pilgrimage cannot happen without helpers and this year we had thirty-nine helpers aged between 17 and 30, and twenty-six helpers whose ages ranged from 30 to 79. All are valuable and play such an important role as did the many volunteers who this year came forward when they learnt that the Catholic Association was generally short of helpers. Thank you to all of you.
We go with a singular purpose, to look after our assisted pilgrims, those who without care could not make this journey, this pilgrimage. Our assisted pilgrims were at the heart of this pilgrimage as they are each year, and their presence with us is a great joy to all.
We had spiritual direction from Father Nick King SJ, our Spiritual Director, from Father Anthony Meredith IC and from Catherine Hanley the Lay Chaplain at the College. Over the course of the week there were many wonderful Masses, night prayers and events, but perhaps special mention of our 9.00am Stonyhurst Mass on Tuesday morning, where we filled the Chapelle Notre Dame des Douleurs and sang Pater Noster, a very lovely occasion.
We are now looking to next year, information will be available from February 2019. If you know of a person who is unwell or perhaps lonely, and may benefit from a week in Lourdes, please do let us know. And if you think you could be a helper then do get in touch, we would be delighted to hear from you!
Take a look at a short video, produced by Dominic Hartley OS 86, and filmed during our 2018 pilgrimage – please click the link below: