February 11th is the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous. During his time as Pope, Saint John Paul II instituted the World Day of the Sick on this day of the solemnity of Our Lady of Lourdes. He did this in an effort to raise awareness for those who suffer from any illness or disability. This day is also a day to remember those institutions and families that care for the sick, suffering, disabled, and for those whose state in life requires more work, more prayer, more community. 

In another message, Pope Francis reminds us that when we pray we are asking Our Lady for great grace, as he says: “Mother, help us to be a community that goes out to encounter everyone.” While this is a tall order, it is the call of a Catholic. We are called to be a community that goes out to encounter others, but that also goes forth allowing ourselves to be encountered, because “encounter is mutual.”

“Encounter is not almsgiving, it is walking together, escaping solitude and isolation to be with others, with friends, with family, with the People of God, all together in prayer before Our Lady.” ~ Pope Francis

To my OLLHS community, my brothers, and sisters - today and every day we pray that Our Blessed Mother helps us to be a community of people who walk together in unity and love to become beacons of light and beautiful gifts of faith, hope, and love to all whom we encounter.

With much love and gratitude,

Catherine Merryman
Our Lady of Lourdes High School