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Sr Aileen Murphy gives us an account of a visit to Lourdes this Summer and what the experience meant to her.


To mark the 150 th anniversary of the apparitions in Lourdes, the rosary basilica was given a face / faith- lift with beautiful mosaics representing the mysteries of Light. The artist, Fr. Rupnik sj also designed this mosaic icon, placed underneath the arches, inviting pilgrims to pray “Mary, show us your Son”.


I was part of a group of 700 pilgrims from the Galway diocese at the beginning of July. During the week, I encountered many faces of Jesus, some in quite surprising places!

  • In the generosity of spirit among the youth who had travelled out to give a hand, deepen their own faith life & add laughter to their service, love & witness.
  • In Anthony, a wheelchair-using pilgrim from Leeds who joined the youth group night prayer, rolling in with two of his nurse friends. He shared his story, his struggles & his faith & left us pondering on his lived experience: “If you want inner peace, you have to reach out”.
  • In the reflections on suffering during the Stations of the cross led by one of our priests – the combination of words & stark expressions in these powerfully painful yet beautiful artworks - & in the hope that pervades as the Stations continue from the traditional burial into the Resurrection & the breaking of the bread at Emmaus!
  • In the beggar at steps of the parish church up in the commercial part of town. I was minding the wheelchairs while our pilgrims went into visit the baptistery, & decided to sit into a wheelchair to see Lourdes from another perspective. A man in worn sandals & tattered clothing came over to see if I was ok, if I needed assistance to get into the church! And from there we entered into a conversation about pilgrimage as this man had been walking from shrine to shrine over the past eight years. Parting, I wanted to offer a small donation. He graciously accepted, then asked if too would like to receive a small donation. What he offered was the gift of reciprocity. For him the gift of recognition was enough. For me the gift of new sight was more than I could have asked: a privileged, grace-filled encounter.

Our group:

Teresa, Megan, Kevin,

Fr. Hugh, Sharon, Stefan, Martin, Marion, Elena,

Sr. Aileen, Majella & Sadie





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