Crew: Len B, Susan H, Kathleen W, Fr. Fisher
- 0700: Breakfast
- 0900: The Baths
- 1200: Lunch
- 1345: Orientation of Lourdes and team photo
- 1530: Mass @ St. Bernadette’s
- 1630: Awarding of Malade medals
- 1830: dinner
- 1945: assemble and line up for 2100 Rosary procession
All wasn’t tears and “Emo Joe” throughout the day.
Here are some highlights of the day, the healing processes that began without me knowing it . We went to Bar Express, as I mentioned yesterday, and I had a delicious cappuccino while we began to chat and get to know each other better.
We also made a stop at the Poor Clare’s cloister in the town. Mel and I were told about the nuns making Job’s (or Jacob’s) Tears rosaries and we wanted to support their work! I’m pretty sure they grow them within the cloister as well. And we were able to make a visit in the chapel. And Fr. Fisher was able to help me find the humor as well!!
Side note. In the chapel we prayed for very special intentions of the sick who have close ties to the Poor Clares. But, the connection runs deeper. My mother is a Secular Franciscan (and has tried to get me to join but I’m not sure that’s my spirituality). My 1st grade teacher is now a Poor Clare, Sister Rose Marie, and I remember her fondly and try to pray for her. Sister is related to dear friends of ours who are also sick with their own illnesses and burdens. The sisters in Alexandria, VA, pray for our diocese and their families, and I know they are praying for me too. So this short visit to the chapel meant more to me than I thought.
Lunch was delicious, and after lunch the orientation of Lourdes was really cool for this history major, going back to the origin of the Pyrenees, the languages and origins of place names, etc. That was really rather well done! And the team photos were also very cool because I have a name to every face, a person not an idea to pray for and remember.
Mass at St. Bernadettes was the Tri-Association mass (the 3 US based Malta associations) and anointing of the sick. I want to take an aside here, as there are key things I’d like to point out. St. Bernadette’s was built in the 1980s, across the river from the grotto and basilicas. It also has an adoration chapel attached. But St. Bernadette’s church……….. well, it’s not beautiful. It’s concrete. And cold. And no kneelers. I’m going to be blunt – it looks like the JPII favored modern style of architecture (I love St. JPII, but I don’t like the architecture preferences. My tastes run a bit different…).
The coolest thing about this church is a small icon to the left of the altar of Our Lady with baby Jesus. According to the historian, when St. Bernadette was shown the statue of Mary they commissioned for the grotto, she said that Mary didn’t look like that. (Lourdes had already paid for it so they weren’t changing). But someone had St. Bernadette look through books and books of art of Mary to determine what was the best image. When Bernadette came upon this one icon from a church in Northern France that she had never been to or seen, she got down on her knees because it reminded her of the Blessed Mother that she had met. Boom.
There is a Joe Tangent expanding on a question about this topic for another post, don’t let me forget!
Mass was very beautiful – the choir of knights and dames sang beautifully and so did the congregation. And there was anointing of the sick, a sacrament which I have received twice yet am still amazed by. A definitely ill-understood sacrament for sure. Then after mass we were given our Malade medals by Archbishop Lori (who was everywhere).
Then Mel and our dear companion Susan went out shopping while I rested (more on Susan later!) and we went to the Moderne for dinner with the Archbishop. He had all the malades at his table so we could chat with him, and it was here I learned more about Sue (friends of my cousin Mark), Gil, I met Robert and Harry for the first time, and got to know more about my fellow malades. Harry had the best icebreaker – “what’s your story?”
I also learned here about how to address an archbishop. It’s “excellency”, or “archbishop” if he prefers. I asked him. (Another Joe tangent here, don’t let me forget!)
Then, after rushing through the meal, it was back onto the cart
and down to the domain with Susan, Kathleen, Len, and Fr. Fisher.
The rosary procession is long, candlelit, and beautiful. It’s in as many languages as there are people there. We heard languages from Europe, Asia, South America, they were all beautiful. And for my Mom, there was also Latin, and we sang the Ave Maria in many languages but always the refrain, “Ave Maria”. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.
Let’s just say, the paper catches on fire very easily. Even experienced team leaders had trouble (cough cough Terry!)
I think day 2 is over. But there is more and I’m sure I’ll remember later!