The actual area in front of the Grotto can be very busy and although pilgrims are asked to keep silence it can also be very noisy. Some time during the days of pilgrimage try and find some quite time by the Grotto. You may find it best to sit opposite the Grotto across the river. A good time during the day to find a quiet moment is near meal times and then late at night. If you go down to the Grotto late at night you are advised not to go alone. These thoughts may be of some help.

FIRST EVER VISIT TO THE GROTTO

I cannot believe that after hearing and reading so much about the grotto of Lourdes, I am now standing where 150 years ago, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to Bernadette 18 times.

Perhaps I should try and capture a little of Bernadette’s spirit as I find myself here today.

Life for Bernadette was harsh and unrewarding yet she did not think of herself when she set out each day to gather the firewood washed up by the fast flowing River Gave. In spite of her poor health, she chose to come to this place in a spirit of service for those she loved hoping that the little she could do would bring warmth to their home and into their lives.

Lord, I come to this place believing that, so matter what my circumstances, you will grant me those gifts of love, joy and peace which will warm my heart and help me to be ever grateful for your goodness to me.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

SECOND VISIT TO THE GROTTO

I knew that, like Bernadette, I would have to return to this holy place. Since standing here yesterday, I am slowly coming to recognise the many blessings that God has shared with me. The Lady in White had smiled at Bernadette and opened her arms to welcome her.

Lord, it was a feeling of welcome that I experienced yesterday – a sense of having come home to You. Help me always to pray openly, without fear, knowing that You are always with me.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

THIRD VISIT TO THE GROTTO

In spite of her family’s opposition, they relented and Bernadette was allowed a further visit. Now, the Lady in White asked her to come to the grotto a further 15 times.

Not only were her parents concerned but the civil authorities were beginning to question her and she was subjected to scepticism and ridicule.

Lord, I find it painful when my Faith in You and my Love for You is neither understood nor respected – sometimes even by those I love.

Help me, like Bernadette, to remain resolute and constant. By my coming to You more frequently, I know that my trust in You will deepen.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

FURTHER VISITS TO THE GROTTO
As each day passes in Lourdes, I am beginning to understand more fully why I was guided to come here. I needed to be reminded of the needs of so many people throughout the world. The frail and the less able pilgrims that surround me represent the countless millions who are in need in so many faraway places.

The Lady in White had said to Bernadette ‘I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other.’

Lord, in my busy life, I can sometimes forget your family whom I know to be my sisters and brothers. Let my prayers today be with and for, all who are in any need.

May my self sacrifices teach me to think of others before myself.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

I have promised myself that I will drink of the water available to me in various places around the domain. I recall that Bernadette was invited by The Lady in White to scrape in the mud and drink the muddy water that had appeared there; ‘Go drink at the spring and wash yourself in it,’ she had said.

Lord, by water and the Holy Spirit, you invited me to share in your Life at my Baptism. May I never be afraid to proclaim my Faith nor to trust in your Word, as Bernadette trusted in the words of The Lady.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

As Bernadette continued to fulfil The Lady in White’s requests to come to the grotto, she was being accompanied by a growing number of people.

As I look round today, I am amazed and excited by the vast and increasing numbers who come to Lourdes each year. I understand so much better the plea of The Lady in White who said to Bernadette, ‘Go and tell the priests that people are to come here and to build a chapel here.’

Lord, the sight of so many sincere pilgrims who have taken to heart the invitation to come to this place, fills me with Joy. You continue to build your Church, the People you have made, to be a light for others to follow and as a sign of your peace in the world.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

In time, Bernadette asked The Lady in White what was her name, to which she replied, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’.

Not understanding these words, she kept repeating them to herself until she could visit her Parish Priest and tell him what the lady had said to her.

Lord, there is so much that I do not understand – about You, about the World, about suffering, about myself . . . Help me to hold firm to the Words of your Son so that I may always walk in Faith and come to know You as the One in whom I put my trust.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

Some eight years after her first seeing Mary, Bernadette arrived at the Convent in Nevers where she was admitted as a novice. She was to remain there until her death in 1879 at the age of 35 years.

Lord, may my visits to this Grotto deepen my love for you and enable me to seek always, to do your will.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be to the Father…

LIGHTING A CANDLE BEFORE THE GROTTO

One of the great traditions of Lourdes is to light a candle in front of the Grotto. Candles burn there throughout the year and as we remarked above, the money from the candles is a major source of income for the Sanctuaries. ‘Light a candle for me at the Grotto,’ is a frequent request from those who cannot come on pilgrimage. Because of the numbers of people in Lourdes at this time it is not practical to actually light your candle to leave burning at the Grotto but you can leave your candles in the trolleys provided and they will be burnt at some time during the next few months. You may wish to use this prayer as you place your candle before the Grotto.

Lord, may this candle be a light for you to enlighten me in my difficulties and decisions.

May it be a fire for you to burn out of me all pride, selfishness and impurity.

May it be a flame for you to bring warmth into my heart, towards my family, my neighbours and all those who meet me.

Through the prayers of Mary, virgin and mother, I place in your care those I come to pray for, especially ……………………………………..

I cannot stay long in this holy place and in leaving this candle I wish to give to you something of myself.

Help me to continue my prayer into everything I do during these days of pilgrimage.

 

A pilgrimage to lourdes

A visit to the grotto

History of the Shrine

Places of interest

Stations of the cross

Story of the appatitions

The Rosary

Story of Bernadette