Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality, the North American Volunteers in Syracuse brought the students on a virtual pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. Lourdes Hospitality is a group of volunteers who bring sick people from America to Lourdes. Around 15,000 people a day visit Lourdes, and it is the most popular Marian shrine.
Fran Salaun, the volunteer who spoke with the students told the story of Saint Bernadette Soubirous. As a sickly child, Bernadette was visited by Our Lady 18 times. St. Bernadette first saw Our Lady in a grotto and she was taught the sign of the cross and the way she made the sign of the cross became her trademark. Fran brought with her pieces of the grotto that the students were able to touch while saying a quick prayer.
On the ninth apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette, Bernadette was instructed to dig for a spring of water. The spring that Bernadette uncovered became a healing spring that would heal people in ways that seem impossible, as it could perform miracles. For example, Vittorio Micheli a man who had cancer that deteriorated his hip bone bathed in a bath with water from the spring. After his pilgrimage, he felt better and x-rays showed that his hip had reconstructed. Fran also brought with her holy water from the spring that the students were able to bless themselves with.
In general, these stories are important but especially to Our Lady of Lourdes High School in a couple of ways. One is that the school opened its doors in 1958, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparition to St. Bernadette. Another is that St. Bernadette is the patroness of Catholic Schools in Dutchess County.