Saturday, October 31, 2009

Holy Moly

That title was Mike’s idea. Considering that he never contributes to the blog (literally - seriously, he doesn't even read my blog!), I figured I should use his one and only suggestion.

We just returned from a vacation in Biarritz where we greatly enjoyed the ocean. Wow! Waves, sea breeze, fog . . . we have missed the ocean. We love, love, love the ocean. My next blogs will tell all about Biarritz.

And, drumroll please . . . there is SURFING. For those of you who don’t know Mike, he loves to surf the way I love to knit. If only knitting burned as many calories as surfing.

We went to Lourdes on our way to Biarritz (thus the title of this blog), and we were all fascinated. The entire village of Lourdes has a good vibe, and the religious center was amazing.

The highlights . . .

First you see the gardens leading to the amazingly beautiful church (at the bottom) and chapel (at the top) with the stairs leading up to the chapel on either side of the church.

As we walked through the tiny village and down the path to the church, we were impressed by all the religious people we passed – nuns, priests, monks . . . it was quite amazing. And many of the “normal” visitors were incredibly religious (naturally). Read on for more details on that.

We passed by the church and found the holy water and the cave where St. Bernadette saw the Virgin Mary.

There were literally spigots from which you can fill your holy water containers. Many people were drinking directly from the spigots and splashing the holy water on themselves.

There was a line to see the cave, and the people in the line were fascinating. We heard many languages. Most of those voices were praying. People were running their hands along the walls of the cave, kissing the surfaces, leaving flowers and candles as offering, wiping their handkerchiefs and rosaries in the dripping water, etc. We were all touched by the display of faith.

We also saw the area where you can light a candle and the baths. You can literally bathe in the water of Lourdes.

The church was breathtaking. Inside was an amazing dome and some of the most stunning mosaic work I’ve ever seen (even better than what we saw in Barcelona!). Here are some photos for you . . . I only wish the photos were as impressive as the real thing was!

Here are some of my favorite mosaic pieces . . .

Notice my final zoom into the bottom right corner of the angel mosaic! Those are cleaning tools.

Here are some more photos of the church: the dome from outside with the courtyard in the background (where people were gathering for mass), the view of the church from the holy water baths, and the statue of Mary in the courtyard (notice the flowers in the foreground).

A very, very interesting place. We were very glad that we made a visit!

Grom & Dude - be prepared to answer lots of questions and tell lots of stories about Jesus & Mary at Christmas!

Love to all!

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