A generous offer was presented to Order of Malta Western Association Auxiliary Members for the 2022 Lourdes International Pilgrimage. Franco Cirelli, KM Chair of the Auxiliary Committee, got Board approval to create a generous grant to help allow current and active Auxiliary Members to participate in the Lourdes Pilgrimage at a cost of $500. This opened the door to enable Auxiliary Members to participate and assist the Members of the Western Association in the caring of our beloved Malades.
A number of pilgrimage participants provided very positive feedback on how well the Auxiliary members performed on this pilgrimage. This type of strong showing by the Auxiliary will certainty be welcomed at future signature works of the Order. It is indeed a blessing.
It wasn’t until a few weeks after I returned that I could articulate what Lourdes brought. I realized Lourdes is much like my early morning kitchen prayer time before the family gets up in their hustle and bustle. What I was given by the Western Association of Malta was something different, it was Lourdes in collaboration with Malta, and that was the beauty that took me out of my kitchen.
It is in serving the sick and being so close to the physical presence of Mary where I found manganous gifts. In keeping with the truth that “He gives, and He takes away”, I surrendered to Malta my clothes, my individual daily responsibilities, and duties, and I took up the pain, fear, and struggle of the Malades. In doing so, I was granted patience, forgiveness, hope and love. I will forever be grateful to the Western Association of Malta for the gracious grant I was awarded, allowing me to participate in the Pilgrimage to Lourdes. What began as a request from a dear friend on a Saturday morning, “I could use your help”, altered my life forever.
Alicia, Auxiliary Member
I had a wonderful experience on our Lourdes Pilgrimage. Blessed I had the opportunity to participate in all the wonderful celebrations. Our incredible malades and companions shared their stories and experiences of our daily activities.
I had the honor to participate in the washing of the feet of one of our malades. Praying at the Grotto was peaceful. Candlelight procession was powerful. Prayer is powerful!
Elvira, Auxiliary Member
For years I have heard many beautiful things about the Lourdes Pilgrimage and have seen a lot of pictures but nothing compares to experiencing it myself. I was so inspired when I watched the Lourdes Pilgrimage 2021 video and I hoped that one day I could be a part of it. What blessing to be invited the following year.
All the Malades were great! They were so thankful and appreciative. And despite being tired and sleep deprived, being there for them kept me going.
It was an unforgettable experience and I loved everything about it. This was my first Lourdes Pilgrimage and I look forward to going back.
Martha, Auxiliary Member
When we arrived at Lourdes and on the very first day I joined a group of people led by Miriam Greaney, DM and walked to the Grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette. We walked by the Rosary Basilica and I smelled an oily floral fragrance that was unable to be perceived. No one else noticed but me. Fr. Paw described this as Mary’s welcome. Mary welcomed me, but also was bringing me close to our Lord Jesus Christ.
During a Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. James Heft, he invited us to have the “courage” to embrace the cross of Our Lord through our daily sufferings. Here is when I realized that Our Lord never gets tired of calling us to follow him, to take our cross and to follow him. Our Lord calls us every single day to follow him and to do God’s will. To love God, and to love him throughout our brothers and sisters, to serve him in our neighbors throughout their pain and sufferings. God is inviting us to have the “courage” to respond to his calling.
I met so many wonderful people, people gifted with many graces, some of them are true miracles of our Lord, some are the channels through which Our Lord acts to convert others.
I was blessed that I had the “courage” to take on this Pilgrimage. I was blessed to serve Our Lord, my Lord Jesus Christ through every single person I encountered on this pilgrimage. I found Our Lord, my Lord in the happiness of the little ones and the suffering of our dear Malades.
Have the courage of Samuel when The Lord called him and he said “Here I am Lord”.
Diego, Auxiliary Member