Gratitude journal
three good things

Jun 13, 2019

Winding down

My last full day as a 3rd Year Stagiaire started in the baths and it was a surprise and an honour to be invited by my leader of yesterday afternoon to join his team, along with the other members. It was, if truth be told, a bit daunting to be the sole Englishman amongst the other five Frenchmen, especially as my French is not very good (for which read non-existent).  However, I am so grateful to them for welcoming me back, making me a full member of their team, even teaching me French and encouraging me to learn the language (good plan).

Grateful also for a good Service with the Blessed Sacrament Procession this afternoon, which started off with crowd control at the footbridge leading to the Accueil Notre-Dame, then allowed me to join the procession immediately behind the doctors. An honour.

in 2016 I helped entrain the Knights of Malta Hospitalité from Freiburg. On that occasion we met a woman from Freiburg who had been to Lourdes some 30 times. She had with her a disabled boy some 12 or 13 years old. She told us the story of how she worked in a home for disadvantaged children. The boy’s mother had abandoned the baby boy in the home and no one was prepared to adopt him, so she had taken him in, looked after him and brought him to Lourdes every year of his life.

Our conversation and the business of loading the boy onto the train took only ten to fifteen minutes and remains one of the most memorable ten minutes of my time in Lourdes, such was her compassion and humility. Sadly I never got their names but this evening, knowing the Maltesers were departing the next morning, I went into  the Accueil Notre-Dame after the BSP to see if I could find them simply to wish them well and tell them how inspirational their story was. Needless to say it was like looking for a needle in a haystack and so after half an hour of asking people around the Accueil without success I called it a day.

On my way back, however, I came across Nicholas, a team leader from the Stuttgart group. I had already met him in the baths when he brought in a very disabled pilgrim on a stretcher. It was a difficult one and I got to know Nicholas quite well, so it was fortunate that I bumped into him. I explained who I was looking for and he took me back into the Accueil Notre-Dame, introduced me to people who might know this lady and her adopted son. Unfortunately we had no luck. However, I am truly grateful to Nicholas for taking time out to befriend me (it turned out we had much in common) and to help me when he should have been supervising his team’s packing and departure preparations.

The true spirit of Lourdes…

A Gratitude Journal is just a simple way of
recording and appreciating the good things in life.

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal leads to
higher levels of alertness, happiness and positive emotions as well as
a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure and better sleep.

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