Ever wondered what goes on in Lourdes? Here's a little insight......

Here's what Libby thought last year:

Libby on the left, with Patricia and Kieron

Libby on the left, with Patricia and Kieron

For some reason, I’ve never been the kind of person who eagerly anticipates and counts down to a new, exciting experience.  Actually, if you were to ask me a month, a week, or a day before I left for Lourdes whether or not I was excited, I would have grumbled something less than enthusiastically.  I was already in knots because, directly after Lourdes, I was going to be headed home to the US and away from the incredible and beautiful friendships I had developed over my year at Castlerigg; the anticipation of going to Lourdes, and the unknown there, didn’t help.

But despite whatever I was expecting, Lourdes gave me something different and eternal.  The moment I got there, I was suddenly and unexplainably at peace. I’ve been to many beautiful and inspiring places, both religious and not, but never, not once in my life, have I felt that same peace and joy that I felt at Lourdes.  And this bubbling, uncontainable joy stayed with me throughout the entire trip. 

But on the last night, as I sat before Mama Mary in the Grotto, in the hush of the darkness and rain, I was silently struggling inside.  Saying goodbye is never easy, and neither are big changes.  So I looked up at Our Lady and, terrified, asked her to be with me.  As the rain washed softly over the Grotto and pilgrims, I felt someone hold me and a tiny whisper said, “Do not be afraid.”

Do not be afraid to leave.  Do not be afraid of changes.  Do not be afraid to do God’s Will completely.  It was not a promise that any of these things will be easy, but it was a promise that she would always hold me close as I took the next leap in my life.  She took my heart, and she carried me. 

So even though I feel like I left a part of me there, I took away much more—God’s unending fountain of peace and the unquenchable hope that comes with His promise to send His mother to walk by my side, to help me on my way.