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Camino Podcast Episode 54 - A Pilgrimage to Lourdes


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First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Episode 54 - A Pilgrimage to Lourdes

163 years ago, the Virgin Mary is said to have made a series of appearances before a young Bernadette Soubirous in a grotto in the French Pyrenean town of Lourdes. Some 200 million pilgrims and 70 "official" miracles later, Lourdes stands as one of the world's major Catholic pilgrimage sites, known in particular for that association with miraculous healing. This episode features stories from two different pilgrims to Lourdes. Marlene Watkins, the foundress of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers (lourdesvolunteers.org), has led many groups of volunteers and ill pilgrims to the town. Meanwhile, Lauren Selden visited Lourdes as a walking pilgrim, as part of a larger walk between Le Puy-en-Velay and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

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Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Lourdes, while overcrowded is still beautiful and worth the side trip there.


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Lourdes, while overcrowded is still beautiful and worth the side trip there.
Wouldn't call it a "side trip", it's a major pilgrimage destination in itself.

Though as to the crowds, well, there are tricks and ways to evade most of them except near the Grotto itself.


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First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
I also thought Lauren's point in the podcast was well taken: regardless of which chemin you take in your approach to Lourdes (if you're passing through on foot), the crowds of pilgrims in Lourdes are such a dramatic change of pace from the peace and solitude elsewhere along the way that they can actually make for a novel and positive experience--especially if you aren't going to make it to Santiago on that trip.

I certainly have (even pre-COVID) a default anti-crowd mentality, but there's a lot of power in so many faithful all drawn together in one space, and I loved having that as a complement to the charming village life and quiet trails. (I don't know that I could stay a week, though!)
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