Pilgrims journey from around the world to the Shrine of Our Lady of
Lourdes in southern France. Their visit is an expression of faith
and a petition for healing. This past June, St. John’s University
sent 10 undergraduates, two graduate students and an alumnus for an
additional, sacred purpose — to serve.
The annual trip to Lourdes— which took place this year on June 8 –
18 — is part of the Plunge Program sponsored by St. John’s Campus
Ministry. Accompanied by Campus Ministry staff, students gather at
the holy waters of Our Lady of Lourdes to assist the pilgrims who
come in search of healing.
For wounded soldiers, those who are ill and all men and women of
faith, Lourdes is a very special place. Catholics from around
the world gather in prayer to the Blessed Mother, who appeared 18
times to the young Bernadette Soubirous, now recognized as St.
Bernadette. There have been 67 confirmed miracles at the French
shrine, with many more in review today.
This year’s participants said the journey profoundly changed their
lives. On their last day in Lourdes, waiting to board the flight
from Pau to Paris, France, one student captured their feelings:
“While I know that we’re done in Lourdes, I believe that Lourdes is
not done in us,” said Joseph Reis ’14C.
As in the past, St. John’s trip to Lourdes became a spiritual
quest—an opportunity to grow in their Catholic Faith and, most
importantly, in their relationship to God and Mary, Mother of
Christ. The students spent weeks preparing through prayer,
formation and service. Through “JFK Hospitality”—a program hosted
by North American Volunteers—they also spent time at John F.
Kennedy International Airport, welcoming pilgrims departing for and
returning from Lourdes. On the way, they posed for a picture
embodying the spirit of “St. John’s Serves.”
Campus Ministry’s annual Lourdes experience is an opportunity for
members of the University Community to participate in a profoundly
moving service initiative together. Undergraduate and graduate
students from all five campuses are invited to join us, as are
alumni. “It’s inevitable that we will make mistakes in our
spiritual life,” observed alumna Dana McNally ’10C, “but the
biggest mistake of all is not to come here (Lourdes).”
The Office of Campus Ministry invites you to learn more about this
opportunity—and to challenge yourself not only physically, but
spiritually. Something amazing awaits you at Lourdes. As the
Blessed Mother Mary said to Bernadette, “Would you be so kind as to
Contact Kate Giancatarino (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also
visit us at www.stjohns.edu/plunge and www.lourdesvolunteers.org.