This week, The Weekly Beet reports from the sacred grotto of Lourdes, France. The Beet Girls go pilgrim, heading to the land of miracles, where the young Bernadette was said to have seen 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
Our pilgrimage to Lourdes was the most holiest of journeys taken thus far for The Weekly Beet! Definitely a spontaneous decision, we hopped on the TGV from Paris and headed to Toulouse, in southwest France. About 2 hours west of Toulouse on the border of Spain in the Pyrénées mountains lies Lourdes, the spot where the Virgin Mary appeared in the grotto to Bernadette Soubirous. Known as the saint of Lourdes, the saint of penance, and the saint of poverty, Bernadette at the age of 14 on February 11, 1858 saw the first of her 18 reported
visions of the Virgin Mary. What appeared to Bernadette was a young woman wearing a white veil, holding a rosary with gold roses on either foot. The mysterious woman did not reveal her name, the Immaculate Conception, until the 17th apparition, but by then the town of Lourdes had come to learn of the visions and was calling the mysterious 'lady', the Virgin Mary. With much attention and quite a following of people, Bernadette faced the skepticism of the local priest, Father Dominique Peyramale, who did not believe in such miracles and visions. But, Father Peyramale's narrow mind was indeed broadened when in one of the visions the Virgin Mary told Bernadette to drink from the spring that flowed from the grotto. Knowing that water was not flowing, Bernadette did as she was told and started digging in the dirt. Within a day, water flowed freely from the rocky cave and from that day forth, there have been 67 inexplicable cures that have taken place from the
To experience the healing waters of the grotto, pilgrims are allowed to visit the piscine, or swimming pool. The piscine was something we were told not to miss and we now know why, as it was the most magical part! An escorted, hand-holding entry into the piscine by the most unconditional loving nuns, followed by a surrendering
of our choice to the Virgin Mary made the experience definitely something to remember. We were told to walk down a few steps into the frigid, healing waters of the grotto while french nuns chanted words and prayers to Saint Bernadette. After submerging ourselves in the pool, which was more like a large bathtub, we walked through the water towards the Virgin Mary and for her blessings and any healing we might need. Looking back, the feeling of absolute love that was felt in the room is now quite unexplainable! After being guided out of the piscine area, upon getting dressed what we found so miraculous - by the way there were no towels, just a thin robe held on top of the body for privacy by a nun - was we noticed that our skin was not soaking wet in the slightest. In fact, it wasn't even damp. It was as if the water seemed to miraculously disappear instantaneously on its own. Other people who had experienced the piscine reported the same thing. When we left, we immediately felt more in the moment and open to
the love that one feels by visiting Lourdes. OK, now that's a moment we're calling unBEETable!
Most people say 'you gotta see it to believe it', but after visiting Lourdes we say 'you gotta feel it to believe it'. The feeling at Lourdes was of utter peace, tranquility, humility, and love. What makes a journey to Lourdes such a beautiful experience is that it sheds so much light and hope for people who are sick and disabled. To this day, millions of people, no matter what religion, flock to Lourdes each year seeking spiritual contact with the divine, a chance to drink from the grotto's holy water (which can be bottled and taken home), restoration of faith, and the hope of receiving a healing miracle to the mind, body, and soul. Memories from a pilgrimage like this can stay within the heart and touch the likes of people everywhere! Whether you believe in the miraculous is up to you, but from what we witnessed, it's safe to say that yes, miracles do in fact happen!
It's time to be a pilgrim! Don't miss a Beet. Stay tuned for next week.
PS. Mary Kent is holding a candle and posing in front of the grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes.
PPS. Check out Debbie Gaby, Co-founder and President of Sleep America on Ladies Who Launch.