Relax – you won’t be asked for your Baptism certificate on the way into the site! And you don’t need to revise the doctrine of the Christian Trinity to appreciate the place. So why go to Lourdes? For a mystical experience? Better than that – to discover a place that is unique in the world, that everyone ought to see once in their lives.
Each year, millions of visitors from all over the world come to this little town where, in 1848, a young girl called Bernadette met the Virgin Mary in a grotto close to the river. Visitors hurry to touch the rock, shiny from having been touched millions of times, and meditate in front of the spring that Bernadette made to gush out at the exact place where the Virgin appeared. Then they go to the fountains and the pools to touch the spring water before lighting a candle that will continue their prayers after they leave.
The atmosphere disarms even the most sceptic. There is something moving and fascinating to see the pilgrims moving forwards in this search for sense and connection. And, it has to be said, in one way or another this visit also feeds the interior journey that we all have to make, whether atheist or believer, and which invites us to reflect on ourselves, on others, and on the meaning of our existence.
You can discover Lourdes in the following itineraries: