On our family’s Jubilee Year pilgrimage throughout Europe, perhaps the most personal encounter took place for me in Lourdes, France, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Our family at the Sanctuary entrance
Because my full name – or as I prefer to say, my REAL name, is María de Lourdes, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes was one of places I most looked forward to visiting.
My parents named me after Our Lady of Lourdes because of an encounter with a French priest ministering them as young adults in their parish--a man very devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes who became their mentor in the Catholic faith and dear friend, at the Cathedral of Pinar del Río, Cuba.
Growing up as a Cuban refugee in Puerto Rico, it was easy to request (read MAKE) my teachers and friends call me simply "Lourdes." But when I moved to the United States as a teenager, no one could pronounce Lourdes and I became plain “maría.” But that’s a different story!
[For more on the history of Our Lady's
apparition at the Grotto of Massabielle,
Lourdes, go here]
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – and I urge you to remember and pray in a deliberate way today for all the people you know who need healing: all who are ill; who live with a chronic illness or an addiction; all who are recovering from or in need of surgery; the elderly facing diminishment in body, mind, and spirit; those facing imminent death; those mourning someone’s death; all who live with cancer; people with a mental illness; those suffering chronic depression.
Take a moment, and bring their names and faces to your mind… ask Our Lady of Lourdes to be a mother to them, and petition that she remind her Son and Our Lord, that your friends “have no wine” and need the miracle of healing.
Let us pray for one another.
Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, ¡reza por nosotros!