Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In the Footsteps of Bernadette...

We started the second day of our pilgrimage with a guided tour of the main sites in the town associated with St. Bernadette. It is a while since I have done this tour, and I particularly wanted to get some new photos, so, mindful of the fact that my knees and ankles are getting worse - which means that I may not be capable of navigating the hills and cobbles for much longer - I made a bit more of an effort this morning.

After meeting at the Information Office and registering our group, we were teamed up with a group from Grimsby. We went first to the Museum of St. Bernadette to get a brief overview of her life and the Apparitions. They have a model of the way the grotto looked and its relation to the town which helped me to picture the whole scene...

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Next we made our way to the Boly Mill where Bernadette was born, and spent the first 10 years of her life. The time spent here was a time of happiness for the Soubirous family...

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A combination of factors led to the family suffering financial difficulties - in particular the generosity of the family towards the poor, and their reluctance to press for payment of debts. The situation was compounded by a famine in the area, during which the government distributed free flour, thus bankrupting Bernadette's father. The family was evicted from the Mill, and eventually became so poor that the only refuge they could find was the Cachot - the old jail which had been condemned as too unhealthy a place to house criminals.

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En route to the Cachot we passed the house bought for the family by the bishop after Bernadette had gone to the convent at Nevers...

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We ended the tour with a visit to the parish church. It isn't the one which existed at the time of St. Bernadette - that burned down - but it does still have the Baptismal font where St. Bernadette was baptised. Unfortunately there was a Mass being celebrated, so we couldn't have much of a look round...

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I did manage to get our group to pose in front of the statue of Dean Peyremale (one of Fr. Tim's heroes, I think.)

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The tour guide indicated that the last place we were due to visit was the English Bookshop, where we would be given coffee. None of our group was keen on the idea and so we finished the tour here. I was starting to feel the effects of the hills and cobbles (I think my Guardian Angel had been working overtime up to that point, pushing me up the hills to ensure that I didn't give up!) and I returned to our hotel for a short rest before lunch...

There are a few more photos from the tour and the rest of Day 2 on my Flickr page.

3 comments:

fitzrufus said...

I'm loving that parish church....

Mark Lambert said...

I visited the church for the first time last week Mac. I did think it was beautiful, but was a bit shocked by the huge organ where the tabernacle should be!

Fr John Hunwicke said...

If you go on the lift to the top of that funny little mountain in the middle of lourdes, you will find much of the furnishings from the parish church which was there in S bernadette's time.

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