Okay, finally going to finish writing about my weekend….
Lourdes was the highlight – so beautiful!
My friend Kim told me the city was tacky, but I don’t know what she was talking about….c’etait magnifique!
I don’t know if I have written this on my blog yet, but I actually have family in Lourdes, or at least I did at one point. Grandma Simone gave me the names of her sister and brother-in-law before I left, but I looked them up online in the yellow pages, within a 50 mile radius of Lourdes and they are no longer in this region. This was a must see on my list for the vacation because of that and I’m glad I went! Lourdes is definitely different than any other town I have visited thus far.
This Basilica was incredible!!! And I just found out there is another one underground near this that I missed. How cool would that be to see?!
What makes Lourdes so sacred is the story of Bernadette, a young girl who claimed to see the virgin Mary 14 times in a grotto. Apparently she was poor and the grotto the virgin appeared in was in a place looked down upon for being ugly. You can still visit the grotto today and I was expecting to have to walk a mile into the woods to find it, but much to my surprise the church is actually built on top of it:
The story of Bernadette was pretty interesting, because she was interrogated for 3 years in her late teens before the church confirmed the visions were real.
Also when she was 14 (I think), there was a day she went down to the grotto and flipped out. She started eating grass and smearing mud on her face, screaming at people she was doing it for the sinners…kind of an interesting mental image…uhhh….God works in mysterious ways??
The church has confirmed many miracles at the grotto since Bernadette and while I was there, people were walking up to the grotto, rubbing their hands on the wet stone and then on their faces and clothing.
Honestly, I’m skeptical about Bernadette’s story, but I went up to get a closer view and feel the grotto for myself. The rock was very smooth from being worn down with so many people touching it over the centuries; felt pretty awesome actually!
Ravid and I also wanted to see the chateau, but it wasn’t open on Sundays. We hopped a small fence and ran up a staircase to get a better view of it, but it just led to a locked door. As we were about to descend some people came around the street corner and we could hear voices below. Immediately we hid in the shadowy corners opposite of each other. She was across the entrance from me and as the voices disappeared she put her hands up in gun form and looked at me for permission. For a 25 year old she is so playful, ha-ha, I love it! I armed myself with my umbrella and we snuck down the staircase James Bond style. A car came around the corner right as I was getting over the fence and I got some nasty looks from the driver, but otherwise it was a successful mission.
I would love to go back to Lourdes one Sunday night to see the candle procession to the Basilica and check out the underground one!