Hank has been sick and now it's time to nurse him back to health. After leaving the domain because of chest pains, and now battling dehydration, we were back in the room resting. Hank was drinking water and Sprite as we quietly reflected on our pilgrimage so far. Sitting on my bed, with Hank laying in his...I asked Hank, "What do you think of this trip?" He laid back and thought..."I miss home a little bit," he revealed, "But I am not ready to leave Lourdes." I told him I felt the same way. It wasn't until we got home and I had time to really absorb everything about the trip, that I realized those words held more meaning than I could have imagined at the time...
|Convent of the Poor Clare's|
At dinner time, I ran down to the dining room and brought soup back for Hank, not really liking it, he settled for bread, and pastries. While he ate and played on his phone, I went back to the dining room for a quick meal. Dr. Jim and Christine were downstairs and asked if we would like to go somewhere. I told them that Hank and I had talked about going to the grotto since we missed it earlier in the day, but I wasn't sure if Hank was up to it.
|Looking over their shoulders at the start of the procession below.|
I did not want to tear myself away, but we wanted to get to the Grotto before the crowd below us dispersed and joined us there. Walking down the ramp, I joined in the Rosary with those below, and
We walked back by the Grotto, pausing to stand back and take it all in. The lights shining on the statue, the illuminated spring, the long line of pilgrims waiting to walk through, the people filling up all the benches facing the Grotto. The crowds of people, like us...just soaking it in. And the many people...kneeling on the concrete...in groups of two...or just individuals, with their heads in their hands, prostrating themselves before the Virgin Mary. So much love here...so much devotion...so much emotion...so much peace. And all of it...in silence...
The draw of the Grotto was strong for both Hank and I ...and we would continue to go back again and again, during our trip.
We slowly walked back through the domain, where the crowds were now sparse, and made our way through the streets of Lourdes and back to our hotel. "Thank you Hank," I said as we walked, "I know you did this for me." He smiled slightly, "Yeah...I know you really wanted to go to the Grotto, Mom" he said. Here was this boy...so sick just hours before...and making this sacrifice for me... We said goodnight to Jim and Christine, thanking them for taking us out. Hank and I made our way up to our room...and I thanked Hank again for going. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and draped his arm around my shoulders..."I wanted to go too..."
*up next: Mass in the underground basilica, the teen retreat, candlelight procession...oh and machine guns...!
|View of the Rosary Procession from above.|
|The spring in the grotto|
|The Grotto at night|
|Candles between the grotto and the baths.|