Our second full day in Lourdes, and I awoke feeling good...finally! I could use a cup of coffee! Hank told me to hang on and just get to the Baths and I would feel better...and he was right!
Hank and I got dressed and headed to the banquet room for breakfast. Today we would be with a different team with us and would be visiting the Grotto as well as the "Anointing of the Sick" Mass. After breakfast, we had team activities. Our team was to have a historical talk, which Hank was not interested in.. Instead, we met up with our voiture (French for "wagon" or "cart") team and discussed what we would do. Since Hank and I had not been able to get online and I was desperate to post on the blog and Hank's Facebook group, we headed up to "Cafe New Orleans"...one of the few cafes that advertised free WiFi. Today's team was another family and we were thrilled! Dad and Mom: Mark and Patty, and their son Rod and wife, Laura. All of them personable and engaging and interesting...and I could see Hank take to them immediately. (as did I!)
It was raining as we headed out the door, leaving the voiture behind, since it was a short walk. We settled down into a comfortable table and started to get to know one another as I desperately looked for a signal. Part of our visit to the Grotto would entail leaving our petitions there. We all took time to write our prayers down...why are we here? Who are what are we praying for? Hank had a list and so did I. We pretty much included everyone we know! Of course we had special intentions...for Hank's healing, and for other people in our lives who are ill and in need of healing or cures. OK...so I had a stack of papers... We finished our coffee (the first of many French Cappuccino's for me), I posted a quick update to the blog and Facebook and headed back to the hotel garage to start our journey to the Grotto.
|The Read family escorts Hank to the Grotto.|
As we walked through the bustle of the domain and headed in towards the Grotto, the feeling in the air changed. The talking ceased and the feeling of reverence was obvious. As we edged closer to the Grotto where Our Lady appeared, we could reach out and touch the rock of the cave walls. They were wet and I noticed people placing their hands in little streams of water as they ran down the rock. I wasn't sure if this was what we are supposed to do, since it appeared to me to be just the rainwater running down the cliff.
|Hank waiting to pass through the Grotto for the first time.|
After lunch we once again loaded up into the voitures and headed to the domain. We would be lining up for the group and team photos and then heading to St. Bernadette's for the "Anointing of the Sick" mass. It was a well-choreographed dance of placing the voitures right in front of the steps of the Rosary Basilica, a beautiful backdrop for our photo. I took position behind Hank, as did the other companions...taking their spots behind their Malades. Bishop Soto joined the rest of the Red Team and took a spot right next to me. He checked in with Hank and was met with a huge grin...Hank was slowly getting used to people asking him how he was doing and was so pleased to see who it was! Little did I know just how many times we would interact with Bishop Soto and how close we would all become in a short time.
With pictures complete, we were quickly underway to St. Bernadette's Church, the same church that we had the washing of the feet. Upon entering, Malades and companions were led to the pews...leaving every other one empty. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Soto, were he was accompanied by at least 40 members of the clergy...from priests to the Archbishop. It was a beautiful sight and I briefly wondered how would I ever enjoy Mass again, with just one priest celebrating the Mass? (I was getting spoiled!)
We had a nice dinner and then Hank took off for Gelato with the other teenagers and some parents. They came back and took up some seats at the bar...which I will call "lounge" so it doesn't sound as bad... I sat in the "lounge" as well and talked and visited with others. (all while keeping my distance from Hank, so not to embarrass him, but close enough that he knew I was there) Hank came to me the and asked to go to the Grotto with some of the other kids. As long as John Gabriel (the 17 year old son of the Knight who pushed Hank's cart the day before.) was going, I said OK. Sometime later, Hank was back, enjoying pizza with the rest of the group. He turned in around 10 pm and I followed up about an hour later. I got in the room and I knew...Hank is sick! He had obviously vomited and was now curled up and asleep on his bed. "Oh no!!", he had caught my bug. (I am pretty sure that I am "Patient Zero"). This can't be good...I am a very sympathetic mom...you vomit...I vomit. UGH! Alone with my sick child in France...no cell service, no Internet. Well maybe that was it...one time and he is good, I thought as I cleaned up the bathroom.
I couldn't have been more wrong...and the next 24 hours had me scared...
|Hank hanging out with the other teens.|
|Hank seeing the Spring for the first time|
|Rod taking Hank through the Grotto|
|The Grotto of Massabielle|
|Waiting for the big group photo|
|Getting ready for group photos|
|The Red Team!|