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Sad to hear the news of the terrorism in France. My husband and I were just there in November–in Lourdes, a few days stop-over our way to India. The visit was amazing and spiritually refreshing.

Given the sadness of the muslim extremist’s attacks on Paris, thought it would be a good time to share some photos of the beauty and spirituality of France, in Lourdes, about a seven hour drive south of Paris.

A view from the top of Chateau fort de Lourdes

A view from the top of Chateau fort de Lourdes and below, looking up at the castle.

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More views from the top of the castle

More views from the top of the castle

climbing a steep staircase to the top of the castle

climbing a steep staircase to the top of the castle

Love the narrow, quiet streets. Me and My husband, Bishop Leo Michael

Love the narrow, quiet streets. Me and My husband, Anglican Bishop Leo Michael

Our wonderful friends, Elisa Amati and her husband Father Don Luca drove all the way from Northern Italy to join us. We had a blast!

Our wonderful friends, Elisa Amati and her husband Father Luca de Pero drove all the way from Northern Italy – about 15 hours drive – to join us. We had a blast!

Streets of France

Streets of France. Elisa had a map. We would find our restaurant!

My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, Me, Father Don Luca, and his wife, Elisa Amati at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

My husband, Bishop Leo Michael, Me, Father Luca de Pero, and his wife, Elisa Amati at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Our Lady of Lourdes grotto was our planned destination and it was an incredible spiritual experience. More photos:

In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl said that a "lady" spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar apparitions of the alleged "Lady" were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place. Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and many believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming popularity and testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.

In 1858 Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl said that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Similar apparitions of the alleged “Lady” were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place. Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and many believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.

Bernadette

Bernadette Soubirous

Night at the grotto

Night at the grotto

An amazing blessing. Look to the left of the statue, considering the crevice a mouth. Do you see the face of Christ. We only saw this on our last night at the grotto

An amazing blessing. Look to the left of the statue, considering the crevice a mouth. Do you see the face of Christ? We only saw this on our last night at the grotto. Peace and Holy Spirit filled this beautiful holy place.

During one of the apparitions, Bernadette was told to by Our Lady "go drink at the spring and wash yourself there". Shortly after the first pilgrimages began Louis Bouriette was cured. He had lost his vision and washed in the miraculous water where he regained his vision.

During one of the apparitions, Bernadette was told to by Our Lady “go drink at the spring and wash yourself there”. At the time, the spot above place was nothing but a place in the dirt. Then, the spring miraculous bubbled up. Shortly after the first pilgrimages began Louis Bouriette was cured. He had lost his vision and washed in the miraculous water where he regained his vision. Through the years, many have been cured at the miraculous water of Lourdes. The water still runs and pilgrims can collect the water at faucets near the grotto.

The Basilica of Lourdes

The Basilica of Lourdes, built over the top of the grotto

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Where Bernadette was baptized

Where Bernadette was baptized

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My husband and Father Don Luca celebrating Mass.

My husband and Father Luca de Pero celebrating Mass

Father Don Luca and Elisa

Father Luca de Pero and Elisa

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Saints everywhere :-)

Saints everywhere 🙂

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Father Don Luca and Bishop Leo Michael walking up the hills toward the stations of the cross

Father Luca de Pero and Bishop Leo Michael walking up the hills toward the stations of the cross

Speaking of the Stations of the Cross, I plan to write and publish a Stations of the Cross book using some of my photos from Lourdes. Really excited about that project.  I’m also working toward finishing my sequel to Crooked Lines. (below)

Beautiful beach and seaAfter we left Lourdes, we went to South India to visit the places and people we helped after the 2004 Tsunami. After returning home, I published my then and now book, Tsunami 2004 – Still Wading through Waves of Hope. Some fascinating stories and pictures from the time of the 2004 Tsunami and after. We’d helped more than two hundred orphans after a national fundraising event. It was really great to return ten years later and visit the people and places and write their stories. Tsunami 2004 is now available on Amazon in Kindle and in print.

While in India, on our follow-up trip, we faced a horrific experience when my husband contracted dengue fever from a mosquito bite and nearly died. But, then and now, we held onto those peaceful blessed days at Lourdes and the wonderful fellowship with Father Don Luca and Elisa. ***

bookFor this weekend Crooked Lines, my novel, is on sale for .99 CENTS. Here’s the blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers.
Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.