Take Your Family on a Pilgrimage without Leaving Your Own State

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Saturday, February 11 is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  It marks the first appearance of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France.  Since it falls on a Saturday this year, it may be the right time to do something special for Our Lady as well as doing something meaningful with the family.

Besides the usual Mary feast day activities (Mass, Rosary, etc.) that you can do, this feast comes with many opportunities for a real pilgrimage to a Lady of Lourdes Shrine. There are many shrines right here in America which are replicas of the Shrine in Lourdes, France.  You may not even have to travel far!

Pilgrimages can take less than an hour —which is especially helpful in the midst of our families’ busy schedules.  And they are suited to the whole family—children, teens, and adults.  Don’t let “I’m too busy for this,” be an excuse.  Take this time to spend with the family and more importantly, pray with the family.

To make it seem more like a pilgrimage, we often say a decade or 2 of the rosary coming and going in the car and say a couple decades when we are there. I’ve listed as many shrines of Our Lady of Lourdes that I could find on the Internet.  See if there is one near you.  http://smartmartha.com/ShrinesofOurLadyofLourdes.aspx

Here is one we recently visited in Maryland.

I know there are probably more then I found on this list.  If you know of one not listed, please let me know.  But even with this list, there still may not be one close enough.  Or perhaps, the weather this time of year is not quite suitable for a pilgrimage.  Whatever the case, we have also enjoyed making our own grotto to display in our home.  This is a great craft for pre-schoolers to pre-teens.  (And yes, even teens.)

Here is a link for step-by-step instructions with pictures.  http://smartmartha.com/LadyofLourdesGrottoCraft.aspx

To instill some interest in the family prior to your pilgrimage or to wrap the evening up, I suggest the classic movie: Song of Bernadette. 

There are also 2 newer movies called, Bernadette and the cartoon version called, Bernadette, Princess of Lourdes that can be watched with the family.

There is also a new DVD just out from Navis Pictures that tells this epic story with a cast of over 150 children. It looks really good, although I’ve only seen the trailer. http://www.navispictures.com/category_s/20.htm

The fact that there are so many movies and books about this story and saint tells us that this is a great story to share with our family.

St. Bernadette’s body was found to be incorruptible after 10 years when they went to remove her body.  It can still be seen today.  Here is a short Youtube of that along with some information about her life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5711hI04mw&feature=related

Copyright 2012 Tami Kiser

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About Author

Tami is the author Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms and the founder of www.smartmartha.com. She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband of 29 years.  She has 10 children:  8 boys and 2 girls ranging in age from 27 to 4. She also has 5 grandchildren.   Tami runs the Smart Martha ministry, CatholicFamilyCelebrations.com, the CatholicMosaic.com, and teaches dance classes.  Thinking like a Smart Martha has helped her to constantly seek to “sit at Christ’s feet” even in the midst of piles of laundry and sinks of dirty dishes. Visit Tami at www.smartmartha.com.

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  1. Pingback: CTJ Podcast, Episode 3: The Shrine of Liseux | Catholic Travel Journal

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