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backpacking pilgrimage
June 7-22, 2024
$1000+airfare to Toulouse

-Sat June 8 arrivals in Toulouse
-June 9 day walk to Tomb of Aquinas
-June 10-13 prayer, service, community in Blagnac, Nay
June 14-16 3-day backpacking nature hike to Lourdes
-visit to monastic Sisters of Bethlehem
-16-19 stay in Lourdes
-Fri June 21 departures from Toulouse
-ask about coming early or staying longer!

When we were in Lourdes Our Lady gave me an incredible grace that freed me from a spiritual darkness that I had been in for months. She gave me the grace to finally entrust to Jesus something I had been trying to handle on my own for a long time. Praying before the Lord in Eucharistic adoration I experienced a peace like I had never felt before and a renewed confidence in his unbounded love for me. Later as I sat beside the beautiful turquoise river that runs past the grotto, Mary taught me not to worry about the future because there is only God and He is the Eternal Present.
     - Jack

One of my favorite places we visited while on the pilgrimage was Lourdes. The Community was hosting a conference there, where we had the opportunity to help setting and cleaning up. The theme was "blessed are the poor in spirit" and this guided my prayer for the week and led me to a beautifully simple encounter with Mary. Bernadette said that if there was a poorer girl in France, Mary would have appeared to her.

      Previously not having a truly internalized understanding of or profound personal love for Mary, I truly encountered our Mother in the least glamorous but loveliest of ways. There was no break-through moment, but rather the recognition of a mother's love I had always known but never had a name for. The perfect humility I admired in Christ pointed me to the humanity of His love, which was first spoken by His Mother. The awareness of Mary's working in my life and heart before and at that moment was striking and brought great peace. Encountering Mary, the Immaculate Conception, at Lourdes was a beautiful grace and she has stayed close ever since."

     - Haley

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