As many people go on pilgrimage there must be a reason and many pilgrims say it is a life changing experience. This could be because they are ‘healed’ or because they feel emotionally or mentally different. It isn’t necessarily an actual change the person may just feel better in themselves. I talked to a 16 year old boy who went to Lourdes with a group of people called the “Red Shirts” who help people at Lourdes by preparing the mass, getting things ready and being nice and friendly. This student chose to go to Lourdes because he thought it would put him at peace with himself and to find things he liked.
He found it changed him because he made better relationships with the people he already knew and built new bridges with people he didn’t. He felt important because he was helping other people and putting other before himself. Pilgrimage can change you both mentally and physically, there is physical healing and mental or emotional healing. The physical healing could vary from curing someone of cancer to fixing a broken bone. Some of the miracles performed in Lourdes are curing people of incurable diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer.
This physical change is very emotional for the person it is happening to and can improve someone’s faith greatly. Someone could be emotionally healing because in the Grotto in Lourdes you can possibly have your own vision of Mary like Bernadette. Everyone who visits Lourdes has the chance to bathe in the Holy Spring Water which can give you a sensation of being cleansed and free from sin. It can make you change your mind on your views of God and Christianity and make you think about how God’s influence on your life can interpret what you think.
The Grotto could be very thought-provoking and show you the right route you should take in your life. If you are a strict Christian you could show your love and devotion to God by visiting Lourdes and helping the sick and less fortunate than yourself. People often help others by attending masses with them, welcoming them to Lourdes or to just be a friendly, caring character. This will make people more relaxed and allow God’s work to take place and will let emotions show that no-one knew they had. If someone wants some spiritual healing they can have time to themselves to look back on their life and how God has helped them through it.
It shows understanding of their faith and recreation of who they are as a person. Going on pilgrimage can be a very moving experience that makes you think about your faith in your life. It can make a person think about their actions and ask questions they never thought they would. Pilgrimage isn’t just a time to ponder your thoughts and think of everyone less fortunate than you, it is a time for you to recognise yourself and learn who you are as a person. It can change both your thoughts and your physical being