LOURDES: Silent Witness To Love - Eamonn Monson

You can smell the flood, the after-effects wafting from the closed hotels and shops. In the river a snapped tree juts sideways into the air. Reconstruction, sacred areas cordoned off, inaccessible for now. 

Thankfully the Grotto is open. There’s an overwhelming innocence in the unpretentious humble pilgrims. A recently born baby in her father’s arms, toddlers, ordinary modern young women and men, the old, the sick; every race and nation. 

I kneel in the spot where St. Bernadette prayed when she saw Mary and my prayer is intense, sad with the sorrow of those I’m pleading for. It is incredibly beautiful and peaceful. 

A strong breeze blows down the rock rustling the leaves, blowing out the candles that the attendant is trying to light. I always feel that Mary is present in the breeze in the trees but I wonder would she extinguish the flame and the joy of her people. 

And I wonder about the floods that destroyed this place twice in two years. Nothing is as it should be. There’s turbulence, conflict, a spiritual warfare going on in the world where everything sacred, including life itself is trampled upon in the name of progress. The wolves are scratching at the door of all that is holy. 

Angry is how you would describe the river. It runs fast and high and green. It too reminds us that it burst its banks once and could do so again. And still there is peace and joy and hope here in the Grotto.

It’s lovely to observe the young who are keen to stand or kneel in the spot where St. Bernadette knelt when she first saw Our Lady. Do they find a connection in the spiritual experience of one as young as themselves? 

The place where St. Bernadette prayed! In the evening I was sitting near this spot again before the candle light procession. A young couple came and knelt there close to the spot where the miraculous spring emerged. He took a little box from his pocket, opened it and there was a ring inside. Without a word he took her hand and placed the ring on her finger. She smiled and then started to cry. They both cried and embraced a while. Then they prayed in silence for a long time. 

There is love in Lourdes – so much love! When it was time for me to leave I bent down to wish them God’s blessing. She reached up and kissed me on both cheeks. I gave him a hug and went off to join the procession. I was the silent witness to love, the ultimate treasure of the human heart.

THE PLACE WHERE BERNADETTE PRAYED @  http://emonson.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-place-where-bernadette-prayed.html?m=1

I COME HERE WITH NOTHING @ http://emonson.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/i-come-here-with-nothing-lourdes-bath.html


  1. Yes, love is the ultimate treasure of the Human Heart!! For it is right and fitting to have this unconditional love within us all to share!!

  2. Thanks for this beautiful story of your visit to Lourdes. You were privileged to kneel in the place where Our Lady knelt. Your story of the couple`s love is beautiful.