Prayer and worship are intrinsic to the Christian life and animate the efforts and work of Sanctuaire Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes.
By the great gift of God’s grace, Our Lady’s humble Sanctuary was born of prayer, continues to be sustained by prayer and so fulfills its mission as a place of prayer.
For 145 years, people have been visiting Our Lady’s Sanctuary and been touched by the spirit of prayer.
Though it may be denied by some, prayer is nonetheless an essential element of the human person and Our Lady of Lourdes beckons all who visit her Sanctuary to enter into prayer.
She knows that “the desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” (CCC 27)
And the faithful come to Our Lady’s beautiful Sanctuary all summer long to attend Mass and the liturgies that are offered under the shade of the trees.
Many come to light candles and make votive offerings as an expression of their prayer. Some come on pilgrimage as parishes, as prayer groups, as families or alone.
There are those who feel the need to draw apart from daily life, to go to the mountain to pray in solitude. Many come to pray before addressing decisive moments in their lives.
Others find themselves unintentionally discovering this holy place. Some are drawn by the natural beauty of the Sanctuary and others come out of curiosity.
People come in pursuit of something not found in their own faith communities or lacking in their personal faith experience.
There are those individuals who just wander the grounds, not even sure what they are seeking. Many spend the day picnicking with their families, sharing the faith with their children and friends.
Others come full of gratitude for blessings received. There are those who come only in times of trouble or despair and others who come to celebrate those most important events in their lives.
Some come specifically seeking Our Lady’s intercession and blessings.
Mothers bring their newborns and consecrate them to Our Lady, asking for her maternal protection.
Some just like to eat their lunch in a peaceful setting and let the Sanctuary’s ambiance wash over them.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, our tender mother, as a channel of God’s great love for us, always beckons her children to prayer; to accept the invitation to come closer to her Son and enter more deeply into God’s Kingdom.
As our Catechism states: “ ‘If you knew the gift of God!’ The wonder of prayer is revealed besides the well where we come seeking water : There Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts, his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” (CCC 2560)
So it is with the life of the Sanctuary. Tongues of many different nationalities are heard exulting the Lord and singing His praises. Rosaries, litanies, devotions, songs and liturgies fill the air.
Yes it is true, prayers of all sorts are expressed at Our Lady’s Sanctuary, but the greatest number are those voiced in the secret of people’s hearts.
Throughout the season people leave petitions at the Sanctuary, seeking Our Lady’s blessings and intercession and giving thanks for help received and prayers answered.
Every day these written prayers are gathered up, together spiritually with the unwritten prayers which have been uttered in the depths of pilgrims’ hearts.
With Our Lady, the saints and the Clerics of St. Viateur, all these prayers become part of the prayer life of the Sanctuary and are offered daily with the praying of the Rosary.
As the season unfolds, each day brings more prayers and the Sanctuary grows and blossoms with the spiritual blessings which accompany these sanctifications, adorations, petitions, intercessions, invocations and praises.
The culmination of all these prayers and intentions is celebrated on the last weekend of the season. In one glorious act of faith, they are offered as an oblation to Our Lord by incense and fire.
With all eyes raised, we see our offerings mingled with the flames and incense rising up to the heavens.
Comforted by the knowledge that our prayers have been brought before the Lamb and the Throne, our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude. Thus the Sanctuary’s season ends, its mission fulfilled.
Until next season, when the faithful will return to Our Lady’s beautiful Sanctuary seeking peace in prayer, the peace the world cannot give.
Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession was left unaided …
With praise and thanksgiving,
Peter and Linda Krushelnyski