Helping the suffering on a pilgrimage of joy, healing and peace

by Sep 2, 2016Personal reflections0 comments

Please help those damaged in mind or body experience the joy and healing of Lourdes by sponsoring me in my thirteenth Great North Run on Sunday 11th September 2016.

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Lourdes and the Ampleforth Pilgrimage

Each year the Ampleforth Hospitalité of Our Lady of Lourdes, a lay organisation under the patronage of Ampleforth Abbey, runs a week long pilgrimage to Lourdes for around 65 sick and some 220 helpers aged 17 and over from around the world. The pilgrimage has a huge impact, way beyond the week itself:

  • For the assisted pilgrims, it brings a great and lasting joy and spiritual revival
  • Those damaged in mind or body can seek and accept healing at Lourdes, enabling them to live more peacefully on their return
  • It is a holiday for the assisted pilgrims (their only holiday in the year for some), a time when they can meet old friends, get taken out into the town, and be entertained by the helpers
  • It can give a welcome break for full time carers back home; family members can take on the carer role by joining their sick relatives in Lourdes for a week of family time
  • It is an opportunity for helpers to practice exceptional service and compassion for a week, refreshing these important values and reinforcing their importance in daily life back home
  • Younger returning helpers benefit from the opportunity to practice leadership in a number of roles and doctors, nurses and older helpers often have the opportunity to be of more extensive service through involvement in the complex management and organisation of the pilgrimage
  • It is hard work for the helpers; its also a week of fun, community and connection, especially for the younger helpers, leaving them better equipped to deal with the world on their return
Lourdes became one of the world’s most important places of pilgrimage after Bernadette Soubirous’s Marian Apparitions in 1858. It is a place of intense joy, spirituality and healing that brings great comfort to the sick and healthy alike.

Why money is needed

Assisted pilgrims come from all walks of life. Many cannot afford the cost and the Friends of Ampleforth Lourdes (FOALS) raises money towards helping assisted pilgrims with their Lourdes travel and accommodation costs. FOALS also provides travel bursaries for some of the twenty Pilgrimage nurses who give their services for free and may have difficulty in raising their travel costs.
The £1,000 I seek to raise will help assisted pilgrims and nurses with limited financial resources to come to Lourdes with the Ampleforth Hospitalité next July. I hope I can impose on your generosity to raise more than this. I can vouch, as one who has been to Lourdes four times, that it will be money extremely well spent, money that will have a deep and lasting impact on those it helps, on the entire pilgrimage and on the wider world.

Each financial choice you make is a powerful statement of who you are and what you care about. When you take a stand and have your money reflect that, it strengthens your sense of self

Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money.

The Great North Run

I have run the Great North Run (13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields) every year since 2002, except last year when I pulled out due to injury. Over the years I have raised over £5,000 from the GNR and other events for Mary’s Meals, Riding for the Disabled, Bruno and others.

I anticipate the 2016 GNR will be difficult, to say the least. Age, injury and a fitness level well below that of 2012 when I achieved my fastest time will count against me this year. I feel I have trained responsibly and done enough to complete the 13.1 miles without further injury or mishap, although I don’t anticipate breaking any records.

I know this will be an exhausting run and I dread the last mile along the beach road at South Shields. I took the final decision to go for it only last week on the basis I could help a cause which I believe has a profound impact on many people and would ask you to think of me on Sunday 11th September and support my cause as generously as you are able.

How to donate

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The preferred option is online through JustGiving where automatic tax relief can be requested by taxpayers; please click on the JustGiving link or go to Funds will be collected and ring fenced by Ampleforth Abbey Trust then forwarded to FOALS.
Alternatively, by cheque payable to Friends of Ampleforth Lourdes and sent to The Development Office, Ampleforth Abbey and College, York YO62 5EY. Tax relief can be arranged if requested.
With deep gratitude from me and from those who you will help.