North American Lourdes Volunteer history
On Ascension Thursday, 2001, our founding volunteer made a promise to Our Lady “to bring ten good Catholic American women” to serve at Lourdes… Waiting in line for four days with two sick women attempting to enter the Piscines (baths) at Lourdes, the housewife forfeited her place to provide another pilgrim the life-changing opportunity she herself had been blessed with the previous year. Begging for entrance, the housewife was requested to “bathe the sick and dying in promise those she loved would come in…” All Piscine volunteers kiss the ground at the beginning of each shift after praying the Rosary in preparation to serve. After the profound privilege of assisting in the baths that day, “the American housewife pulled from the queue” was inspired while kissing the floor to promise Our Lady to return the next year with the 10 volunteers.
As promised, almost exactly one year later, the first group of American volunteers arrived in Lourdes to serve the sick and dying: ten lay women, one lay man and a Canadian priest, making the name “North American Volunteers.” It was an exhausting and rewarding first week of service. During this week, the Hospitalité President invited the first volunteer to bring more Americans. Of the 8,000 volunteers that served the pilgrims at Lourdes in 2002, only about 10% were from the combined English-speaking countries of the United Kingdom. Yet, about half of the six million who made pilgrimage to Lourdes each year spoke English as a first or second language. Volunteers traveling together as a family encourage the service opportunity and help defray the cost by sharing group expenses.
Now, over 3,000 volunteers have served at Lourdes with North American Lourdes Volunteers who has guided over 200 volunteer and special needs pilgrimages, including youth catechesis with service, orientation pilgrimages for medical professionals and pilgrimages for sick and disabled or those with special needs traveling to the Grotto in hope of finding healing and peace. For more information about North American Lourdes Volunteers, or pilgrimage please contact our office.
Hospitalité de Miami history
Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Miami had made pilgrimage to Lourdes over the years and knew the North American Lourdes Volunteers, as they had presented their Virtual Pilgrimage at the parish. In 2012 they came again to the parish to present the Virtual Pilgrimage and the following year a small number of parishioners joined the North American Lourdes Volunteers on a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Throughout the following years the number of pilgrims from Miami continued to grow and parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes began to make their Engagement with the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes. The experience of serving with the North American Lourdes Volunteers and getting to know the Hospitalités from around Europe, who came and served with the annual pilgrimages of their own dioceses, moved the pilgrims from Miami to work toward the day when they could share that blessing with the people of Miami; an annual Archdiocese of Miami Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
In 2016, Archbishop Wenski of Miami founded the Hospitalité de Miami and in 2017 Bishop Brouwet of Tarbes-Lourdes, welcomed the Hospitalité de Miami as a member of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes’ family. Being the fifth consecutive year of pilgrimage since that first small group had joined the North American Lourdes Volunteers, it was as if the Hospitalité de Miami was making its own Engagement.
The Hospitalité de Miami is dedicated to the annual Archdiocese of Miami Pilgrimage to Lourdes and to serving in the Sanctuary with the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes. It is also eager to share the blessing that it has received.
Any diocese that would like more information about becoming a member of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes and beginning an annual pilgrimage of the of the people of the diocese to Lourdes can turn to us. We would be happy to share what we have learned and assist in any way we can.