Reflections on Lourdes - Hannah M. (S6)

Reflections on Lourdes - Hannah M. (S6)

I signed up to the Lourdes Pilgrimage not truly knowing what I was getting myself into. I was assigned to look after a two-year-old boy. Initially, this was quite daunting to hear as I have not had much experience looking after young children. The thought of eight days of looking after an infant was really scary to me, but I am so glad I had this experience, and looking back it really was life changing.

Initially, I was really nervous and quite apprehensive about going on the pilgrimage, as I knew it would be challenging, but I am so glad I decided to go as it was one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Over the course of the eight days in Lourdes, I felt that I had grown as a person and learnt so many useful skills that I will use in the future.

The activities we participated in over the week were quite varied, which I enjoyed as it gave us an opportunity to try lots of new things. For example, during the day we would have events like a sports day or a visit to the beach, and then in the evening, we would participate in talent shows and musical nights. This was really nice, as there was something for everyone to enjoy.

One day which was particularly memorable was the day spent at the Grotto. This was more of a relaxed day and we got to spend some time reflecting on the pilgrimage so far. I particularly enjoyed walking around the grotto with the children and seeing them excited to have a look about. The day started off by entering the Grotto, and then completing the Stations of the Cross. Then we had some time to shop around the area and buy some holy water bottles and candles for our torchlight procession later on. This experience was enjoyable as I got to see each child’s individual personality as they selected things from the shops. This experience was fun but also eye-opening, as we had to look after our guest at all times, so that they wouldn’t get lost. It provided me with an insight into what it would be like caring for a child full time, and made me appreciate all that my parents do for me.

The torchlight procession at night was really special as we placed our school candle with all our names and prayed as a group for everyone’s intentions. This was a time for us all to be open with each other and share our thoughts, which was really nice.

On this trip I had experienced many amazing things, but one event that stood out to me was really special. After coming back from the Grotto at night, I returned to the hotel corridor and found that my child had been crying uncontrollably. No one could console him, and everyone was getting a bit panicked. One of the teachers suggested that I hold him, and so after I held him he stopped crying. This was really rewarding for me and made me quite emotional because, after spending the week with him, he recognised me as someone he felt safe with. I was really surprised but at the same time happy that my care had paid off.

One thing I have learnt from looking after him is to not be scared to try new things, and to live in the moment. Seeing the amount of love that he has for his mum was wonderful to see, and reminded me of the love I have for friends and family. This pilgrimage gave me the opportunity to use my God-given gifts and talents to help others, and I have had the opportunity to develop lots of new skills too, that I will use throughout my life.


Hannah M. (S6)