We started the day with Mass at a chapel on the grounds of the shrine. One of the medical volunteers joined us as she was from Ireland. After mass we saw a movie about the message of the appartions.
The main event of the day was our appointment at the baths. Part of the original appartions was the creation of a rush of spring water in the middle of the mountain. The spring water has been documented to cure a number of sick people. As a result sick from all over the world make the difficult journey to Lourdes in hope of their own miracle. It was very difficult to get information on exactly how the baths worked so it was hard to prepare the kids. However everyone decided to join in. We waited in line for awhile but they had a group praying the rosary and singing songs (everything at Lourdes is multi-lingual) which made the time pass and kept a prayerful atomsphere. Plus there were benches for everyone!
Once you make it into the “locker” area a woman asks what language you speak and then directs you to a volunteer who speaks the language. She then assists you with undressing and gives you a robe to wear while you wait. You are then called in behind the curtain to the bath. In one move they remove the robe and then tightly (very tightly) wrap you in a white cloth. They walk you down, offer a prayer and then dunk you up to the neck before assisting you out and back into the robe. It goes very quickly and is a very unique experience. It got mixed reviews from everyone from people who loved it to people who were mortified by all the lack of clothes.
After that we all some time and that’s when the skies opened and it began to pour. Now, we had to get dressed while soaking wet out of the bath (no towels here) so I had finally dried and it was the one day I had left my rain coat in the room so I was wet again. I did get a visit the grotto in before the rain. This is the actual area where the visions took place and it is where you can see the spring. Tonight we watched the procession from on high but it was much smaller because of the rain. Watching from above gives you a whole new perspective on the procession.
I had read Lourdes described in travel books as “Catholic DisneyWorld” Having been here for two days I totally get the comparison. One very much gets into having a schedule each day and discussing which “sites” they had seen. Also, right outside the gates are a million souvenier stores selling all the junk you could want. But despite the comparison I found it to be very holy and filled with faith.
Early to bed as the train leaves the station at 5:30am!