125th anniversary of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de LourdesPubblicato: 2 ottobre 2009
125 years caring for sick, 125 years of hospitality, taking in and welcoming pilgrims at the Lourdes Shrine. Its name? The Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes. It was established 25 years after Our Ladys apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, which just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the apparitions, welcoming more than 9 million pilgrims.
The Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes is an international association, whose members are volunteers from 60 different countries. Antoine Tierny, the current president of the association and a member for 37 years, is a Lourdes enthusiast who is fervently preparing this Jubilee year.Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes is a very particular type of hospitality because it does not accompany the sick, it accommodates them in Lourdes. The Hospitalité takes care of all pilgrims, especially the sick and handicapped. It is composed only of volunteers, who come at their own expenses to serve the sick and, through them, Our Lady.The Lourdes Shrine is one of the biggest pilgrimage centers in the world. 125 years ago there were few pilgrim attendants, today however there are more than 20,000. Antoine Tierny explained this growth:The secret to the expansion of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes owes itself to the growth in the number of pilgrims and sick The hospitality world in Lourdes involves more than 20,000 people.The Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes was founded in 1885 at the request of the chaplains in Lourdes, because they realized that help was needed all the time to welcome [the sick]: they would arrive at the station, but they had no way of coming to the shrine.None of these volunteers are paid, nor is there a great flow of money. Nevertheless, everyone receives something. They say that Lourdes and the sick are enriched with the splendor of Our Lady.They come here for different reasons. But when they leave, they leave with graces that they accumulated during their pilgrimage, which gives them strength for the whole year.