It is several months since Megan, now a member of Year 12 at the college, returned from a pilgrimage to Lourdes in Southern France. Megan has had time to reflect on many aspects of her time in Lourdes and this short Q&A asks her to reflect on the Service, Prayer and Spirituality that such an experience provides.
Last year I was speaking to Angela and Alun from our Church, Blessed Sacrament, and they asked me had I thought about going to Lourdes. They told me about the Animate Youth Team and how they help the sick and elderly from Liverpool Archdiocese who go to Lourdes every year on a pilgrimage. I was unsure what this all meant so I read up about past Lourdes trips with Animate on their website.
The Pilgramage has many coaches from Liverpool and the North West, taking Youth volunteers to the South of France whilst the pilgrims (the sick and elderly) travel the next day by plane. I went to Lourdes with the Animate Youth Team, Coach 3 from St Helens. I didn t know anyone else who was going my age which was very scary, but there were many warm up meeting were I got to meet my new friends and even learnt how to push a wheelchair without clipping anyone s ankles. By the time we went to Lourdes in July I felt more relaxed and independent.
I travelled to Lourdes by coach and ferry and it took around 26 hours. I stayed in Lourdes for just over a week which gave us plenty of time to embrace Lourdes and the miracle of Our Lady and St Bernadette.
The most important thing that I learnt about my experience was that no matter how tiring the days got, people around you always kept you upbeat, motivated, entertained and drew you in to make your time more enjoyable. I realised that friendship and helping others was always the key, you always found the strength to go out and help the pilgrims and try to make their Lourdes experience amazing. Even near the end of the week when the days were getting longer, there was always people close by to help you and make you laugh.
At the torch light procession, I realised that this experience wasn t going to get better. The experience during the torch light procession was mind blowing. Everyone walking with their torches smiling and singing filled me with joy and along with many others, we felt lifted.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to Lourdes and the Animate team and I never realised what an impact it would have on me, my life and my faith. To help the Pilgrims and see them enjoy their faith experience as well as I did is such an uplifting experience.
I would love the opportunity to go again and I would recommend it to anyone who was thinking about going to Lourdes especially with an organised trip such as Animate as it was so well organised to make sure you got the most of your faith experience naturally.
I look forward to going again in the future as it was an emotional and moving experience, I would like to go with my mum as she has never been.
I would really recommend this trip to other people as it is an amazing experience and it gives you the confidence to be more independent and the ability to make more friends. As well as helping the sick and elderly, you get lots of free time to enjoy the trip with your friends.