Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lourdes - Sacred Town of the Pyrenees

One doesn’t have to be a Christian to be intrigued by the sacred sanctuaries of Lourdes, in particular the Cave of Apparitions. The town was placed on the world christian pilgrimage map in 1858 when 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous saw Virgin Mary in a series of 18 apparitions. 

It’s walls worn smooth by millions of hands, the grotto is today accompanied by a beautiful chapel and 20 baths that sources water from a spring that Benadette was instructed to drink water from and wash in, by the immaculate conception herself. The baths are often used by invalids seeking cures.

These days also, unholy souvenir shops line all paths to the sanctuaries but I did as others did and filled a small bottle with the incorruptible holy water. Hope I never have to use it!

In perfect honesty, we were in Lourdes for the Pyrenees hiking haven but the visit to the grotto was unforgettable and admittedly spiritual.