Monday, 6 June 2011

Bartrès...










Wednesday morning was the nicest one we had weather-wise, though it was a little breezy. This was very good news, as it was the morning we were due to go to Bartrès. We were so fortunate to have Mass in the parish church there. It was all the more poignant for me to realise that St. Bernadette would have recognised the church as it was - the one in Lourdes burned down and was rebuilt in a slightly different location, and the Crypt of the Immaculate Conception basilica (just above the Grotto) had only just been built when St. Bernadette left Lourdes to join the convent at Nevers, so she never saw the other chapels there.

I took a few photos, but not during Mass, as I was leading the singing, and manipulating a camera and various bits of music at the same time is not a skill I possess...






At the end of Mass, Fr. Tim brought out a sample of St. Bernadette's handwriting exercises...


...and we were able to venerate a relic of St. Bernadette...


Something I hadn't spotted on previous visits to Bartrès (despite it being bang smack in the middle of the graveyard) - the grave of Marie Lagües, the foster-mother of St. Bernadette.


St. Bernadette's own mother couldn't breastfeed her due to burns to her breasts in an accident with a candle. Marie Lagües had just lost her own baby, and so agreed to act as wetnurse for a small fee - the family were reasonably well-off at this point.

Later, when the family became destitute and St. Bernadette's health took a turn for the worse, it was decided that she should go to live in the relatively healthier air of Bartrès, where, in return for looking after the sheep and helping with her foster-mother's children, St. Bernadette would be taught her catechism, learn to read and write and be fed a better diet. In fact, due to her tiredness after her day's work and her ill health, St. Bernadette found learning very difficult, and Marie Lagües was not a patient tutor, so the bargain wasn't kept. When the parish priest at Bartrès left to join a monastery, St. Bernadette decided that she would be better off back with her family. Shortly after her return, she saw Our Lady for the first time.

The Lagües' family house has been preserved as a museum, and St. Bernadette's little cot-bed can be seen...


The photos of the interior aren't as clear as I'd like because the room is behind glass - presumably to deter relic-hunters from denuding the place!



I had planned to allow time in Bartrès after Mass for lunch and exploration of the museum and surrounding area. There was, I'd noted last year, a nice little café / restaurant which looked like it would be good. Alas, the best-laid plans of mice and men, and all that... The museum was only one room (and a gift-shop) and it closed at 12noon for a two-hour lunch-break. Fortunately we'd had plenty of time to see the room before Mass. Then, rather embarrassingly for me (as organiser), it transpired that Wednesday was the chef's day off, and no food was available...

My fellow pilgrims were very understanding, and didn't utter a single word of reproach. The grandmother of the group had packed supplies, and several families wandered off to explore the surrounding area - I believe they did find somewhere that did food. I went for the easy option, and chose to stay for a glass of lager, safe in the knowledge that I'd be able to enjoy a late lunch back in Lourdes. Nevertheless, I was completely flummoxed by this!

The café owner had probably noted that Wednesday was his quietest day - most pilgrimage groups attend the Wednesday morning International Mass and then return to their hotels for lunch. To be fair, he explained that, should we wish to arrange a visit in future, he'd give the chef a different day off that week...

5 comments:

catholicofthule said...

Thanks for the photos. Sounds like you're having a great time, lunch complications aside!

Mac McLernon said...

We did - but we're back in England again now (boo hoo)

Annelies said...

Ahh, thanks Mac for a beautiful pilgrimage! Lunch was an optional bonus the whole week, we were simply happy to be part of the group this year. And luckily, having children, we never leave the house or hotel without plenty of food supply, so a continental and child-inspired picnic on the playground benches of Bartrès will need to be repeated :) Oh, and you're right, thanks to Grandma, she did win the prize for the best food-equipped pilgrim!
Thank you for keeping the Lourdes-spirit alive on your blog, if only it could also physically transfer us back there!
Am thinking of all those currently taking part in the nightly Rosary Procession, they must be about halfway through. Ave Maria.

God Bless,
Annelies

motuproprio said...

Very wise to skip the International Mass

Mac McLernon said...

Annelies - you can always watch the live webcams on the Lourdes website...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...