Lourdes Trip 2023

On the 6th of April 2023 a group of forty wonderful Fifth Year students from Ardscoil Mhuire set off on the school’s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. Led by Sr Patricia Lee, and accompanied by a team of enthusiastic volunteers, the group left Limerick in the small hours of Easter Sunday morning, arriving in Lourdes, via Dublin and Toulouse, in the afternoon.

The group launched themselves enthusiastically into a week packed full of prayer, reflection, celebration, and fun. Sitting down with Sr Pat for a friendly chat moments after their arrival, the girls listened with fascination to the story of Lourdes before setting off for the Grotto itself, where St Bernadette had witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady in 1858. Every visit to the Grotto was charged with emotion as the girls and leaders witnessed the breath-taking devotion of those who visited it alongside them whilst they remembered, and prayed for, their loved ones at home in Ireland.

The girls also had the valuable opportunity to visit the buildings in Lourdes where St Bernadette had lived and worked in as a child, gaining a deep appreciation for the special and inspirational person that she really was.

Many services were memorable during the week, the first being the Children’s Mass that took place in the Church of St Bernadette. Aided by the HCPT, children from all over the World, themselves in desperate need of comfort and care, came together in Lourdes to celebrate life and sing some of the happiest songs ever heard! An intensely affirming sermon reminded us all not to give up on ourselves or doubt our potential for good as “anyone can be a saint”. This was a highly emotional service for all involved and helped our entire group to see the blessings of health and love in their own lives.

The Blessing of the Sick in the Basilica was another amazing experience for our girls. To say that they were touched by the display of faith by so many people experiencing dreadful suffering, would be an understatement. Whilst offering up prayers for those who they care about they again reflected on the multiple blessings of health, family, and friends in their own lives.

This was followed by the awe-inspiring night-time spectacle that is the Candlelight Procession. As thousands of the devoted from all walks of life wound their way through the Sanctuary, this massive demonstration of faith by so many people had a profound impact on the girls, especially those who were chosen to lead the procession as candleholders.

Whilst visiting the City of the Poor (where the truly needy are accommodated during their pilgrimages) the group had the indescribable pleasure of taking mass in the peace and calm of the sheepfold.

During all of these rituals we kept those whom we love foremost in our thoughts and prayers. Everything that happened during those six amazing days was offered to Our Lady for them and their intentions.

In the midst of all this, we still managed to keep ourselves entertained! Whether it was a tense ride on a cable-car to 100 metres; the perfectly beautiful panoramic-view from the top of Pic du Jer; an intense afternoon of (mostly) friendly competition during Bingo Night and the Table Quiz; surprise superstars emerging during karaoke; or the banter and the selfies, everyone has a special memory to bring back to Limerick with them!

We are all incredibly grateful to Ardscoil Mhuire and our other friends for facilitating the trip; to the adult volunteers for their care and patience; and to Sr Pat and Mr Keating for making the whole, spectacular, life-changing event possible year after year.

However, our most sincere thanks must also go to the twenty-nine amazing young ladies who made the trip so special. They were enthusiastic, energetic yet respectful, kind, caring, considerate, and in more ways than can be listed, did our school, their families, and most importantly, Our Lady, immensely proud.

Limerick Ladies Light Up Lourdes

It all started one night,
With a bus and a flight.
Even with a delay,
We made the most of the day.
Finally we arrived,
And were revived
By the beautiful scenery,
And plentiful greenery.
From masses to tours,
And of course to the stores,
Our attitudes shifted,
And our spirits were lifted.
With trips to the grotto,
It was as if we won the lotto.
Candles alight,
And the sun shining bright,
It was a wondrous sight.
Pizza to ice cream,
It was a dream.
To follow along,
Singing a song,
Candle in hand,
As part of a grand,
Masterfully planned,
Trip abroad,
You must applaud,
The staff who stayed,
And displayed,
The utmost poise,
Even when faced with unrelenting noise.
The trip was a blast,
And while it has passed,
We will never forget,
Our trip to Lourdes.


~ Molly Flanagan