Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024

Press the play button on the top right of the image above to watch breathtaking drone footage of the Sanctuary at Lourdes. Courtesy of Drone Presta. 

Monday 27 May to Saturday 1 June 2024

The annual Diocesan pilgrimage will be returning to Lourdes under the leadership of His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop David Evans.

Please pray for all those considering joining this year’s pilgrimage to Lourdes, as they will be praying for you.

You can view photos and other coverage from the 2023 pilgrimage under the Lourdes Daily box below.

For emails with news and updates on this pilgrimage as well as future pilgrimages and all things Lourdes, please sign up to our Lourdes mailing list:

Lourdes Pilgrimage Mailing List

To enquire about this year's pilgrimage please contact Kath White: 0121 230 6288 (office hours 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday) or via email [email protected]


'Why Lourdes?'

In a series of short videos pilgrims share their experiences of why they made the journey to Lourdes, as we look ahead to this year's Diocesan Pilgrimage.

From school students to carers, nurses and doctors, all of our volunteers play a crucial role in delivering a successful pilgrimage. Could you be one this year?


Watch! Videos will be added over the coming weeks.

Video Four: Shelagh, Emily and Stephanie talk about their roles as Carers whilst in Lourdes.

Doctors, nurses and carers volunteer their time – along with young people from across our schools – to look after the assisted pilgrims (those who may require support with their personal or medical care or transit around during the pilgrimage) attending Lourdes.


Video Three: Husband and wife Kevin and Jane Goodyear talk about their years of service at the Lourdes Pilgrimage. 

During the 2023 Pilgrimage they each received the Benemerenti medal for their service to the Catholic Church.

The couple, from Our Lady of the Angels parish, Nuneaton, encourage everyone who has the opportunity to go to Lourdes to take it.


Video Two: Some of our young people and a member of staff from St Joseph's College, Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent, share their experiences of taking on the role of a hospitalier (helper).


Video One: Three of our Diocesan schools are represented in this video as students and a teacher share their experience of Lourdes.


Watch! Archbishop Bernard welcomes pilgrims at the beginning of the 2023 pilgrimage



Every year the diocese brings sick pilgrims to Lourdes, a pilgrimage that they cannot make without the support from the wonderful doctors and nurses who come with us. Without your expertise we cannot give as many pilgrims the wonderful experience of Lourdes.

This is an opportunity for you to do something new and to make a real difference for these travellers. 

Quick Links

Booking

Full Application Pack for 2024

Application Pack 2024

Apply to the Nursing Team

If you have any questions please contact Kathryn Hewitt: [email protected] 

Nurses

Lucy Mitchell- student nurse

Lucy chose Lourdes as her elective for university.

“I felt Lourdes offered a different experience. Patients wouldn't be able to come without the help of nursing teams. It’s something spiritual for them to experience which we don't really get in the hospital I'm used to.

“You can see why people keep coming back, volunteering and coming every year in their own time. It's been a great experience so far.”

Tamzyn, Libby and Melissa - student nurses

Tamzyn, Libby and Melissa are all from Keele University and they chose Lourdes as their elective for different reasons. Listen to their thoughts on the 2019 pilgrimage and why they chose Lourdes.

Doctors

The role of a doctor in Lourdes is very different from your professional role at home. The sick on a pilgrimage present with existing diagnoses and treatment plans prior to travel, and the role of the doctor is to help replicate these.

Changes in a pilgrim's condition are normally either predictable within the context of their disease and of the pilgrimage, and therefore can be viewed as a predictable aspect of the existing treatment plan, or are completely unexpected, where the role of the doctor would be to signpost the pilgrim appropriately. 

Doctors are a valuable addition to a clinical team in Lourdes.

You can offer:

Clinical decision-making: This is extremely important for the more complex pilgrim, and not having doctors means that we may not be able to take pilgrims with more complex issues.

Leadership: Of course many nurses have good leadership skills, but doctors have credibility as authority figures so can more easily provide clinical leadership where there is differing views about the best course of action within the pilgrimage.

Governance and working as a doctor in Lourdes

Carers

Carers, whether new to the role or returning will need to fill in the same application form sections as nurses and doctors so that our Chief Nurse can ensure we have the right balance of clinical skills to care for the Accueil Pilgrims that we take with us. 

Testimonials

Francesca, 2nd year Adult Student Nurse

How many times have you been to Lourdes?

Just once, 2022 was my first year.

What jobs do you do when at Lourdes?

The role was varied to include caring for the sick pilgrims, providing personal care, medication administration, escorting to Mass and during trips. 2022 was the first year since Covid so was a little different to previous years as less sick pilgrims to care for.

What is different about nursing in Lourdes compared to your usual place of work or study?

Nursing in Lourdes, in the Accueil is magical! The Accueil is the hospital in which the sick pilgrims stay, medical care can be given here and although a "hospital" it has a relaxed community feel to it which helps bring pilgrims together. The community dining area allows for shared meal times and bonding.

Caring for the pilgrims in a group means that the get to know each other and the care team well over the week and you feel like you come home with a whole new bunch of friends. 

The team know each other and each others' capabilities and limitations meaning they can co-ordinate care quickly and effectively without the fuss of a UK hospital setting making for a peaceful enjoyable experience for the pilgrims even in times when they require medical attention.

What inspires you?

The Lourdes nursing team have been an inspiration since meeting them, the care they provide is outstanding not just for the pilgrims but for each other. If I can be half the nurse that Chief Nurse Kathryn is I will be one happy successful nurse. On a wider scale my family, my children in particular inspire me to be the best I can be, to show them what hard work and dedication can bring not just yourself but those around you.

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to Lourdes as a nurse for the first time?

It's an opportunity like no other, if you get the opportunity grab it with both hands. Regardless of your beliefs Lourdes will capture your heart. The team are amazing and supporting, and the pilgrims are a delight to care for and so grateful to be there, one big Lourdes family.

Julie, Registered Nurse, qualified 32 years ago

How many times have you been to Lourdes?

5 times

What drew you back?

Lourdes is a place where the sick and disabled are prioritised, they are at the front of any service or activity and their experience is paramount. Travelling to Lourdes is a huge commitment for the sick pilgrims; to support them to be able to undertake the journey and engage with the pilgrimage to the full, is an honour and a privilege.

What jobs do you do when at Lourdes?

I support nursing students from Keele University to have the opportunity to undertake an overseas elective on pilgrimage to Lourdes. I also organise the students going on the trip from Keele and whilst in Lourdes, I support the students and staff during the week and I work a variety of shifts at the Accueil, caring for the sick pilgrims.

What is different about nursing in Lourdes compared to your usual place of work or study?

I work in a nurse academic role in my day job; it is a great opportunity to work clinically with the Lourdes team and the students.

What inspires you?

Lourdes is a holy and peaceful place; it is the best week of my year!

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to Lourdes as a nurse for the first time?

Come along and you will be inspired and will want to return! You will make friends for life!

Emily, primary school teacher who goes to Lourdes as a carer in the nurses team

How many times have you been to Lourdes?

I first went in year 11 when I was 16.  I have been to Lourdes 17 times. I have been 11 times with the Diocese. I have also been with HCPT and Leeds Diocese. 

What drew you back?

I am pretty much addicted. I love the faith that you feel in Lourdes. I love helping people. I love being in such a special holy place. 

What jobs do you do when at Lourdes?

As a carer, I help people get up and ready for the day. I go out around Lourdes with them. I assist during Masses and services to check everyone is ok. I help to get people ready for bed in the evening. 

What is different about nursing in Lourdes compared to your usual place of work or study?

As a teacher, it is completely different to my day job and that is what I love about it. 

What inspires you?

Just the need to be in Lourdes for a week. It gives me a boost spiritually, emotionally and socially. 

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to Lourdes as a nurse for the first time?

Do it! It’s just amazing. 

Jola, Qualified Nurse since 1989

How many times have you been to Lourdes?

I have been to Lourdes 12 times. Ten times as a nurse on the Birmingham Diocese pilgrimage.

What drew you back?

I can’t explain what draws me back. I have always loved the story of St Bernadette & to go to Lourdes & visit the place where she was is something very special. To sit in the Grotto & look at the statue of Our Lady knowing that Our Lady actually appeared to Bernadette in that exact spot makes my faith stronger. On our pilgrimage we have our Lourdes family as so many people come back year after year. I feel spiritually uplifted in Lourdes.

What jobs do you do when at Lourdes?

Before going to Lourdes I carry out nursing assessments of the sick pilgrims who want to travel with us. Once in Lourdes, together with a team of carers & other nurses, we provide holistic care. We spend time with our ‘VIPs’, assist them with their activities of daily living, chat to them, listen to them, ensure they are warm & comfortable, administer their medication if they are unable to self-medicate. We assist them so that they can join in the pilgrimage programme of Mass or specific services. We even take our VIPs shopping if that’s what they request. If someone becomes unwell during the pilgrimage then we ensure they receive the correct treatment.

What is different about nursing in Lourdes compared to your usual place of work or study?

I am currently working as a District Nurse. We are short staffed & the caseload is large. In Lourdes we make sure that we have enough staff to care for our VIPs properly. We have time in Lourdes to spend with our VIPs so it is not task orientated but truly holistic care.

What inspires you?

To give something of myself to another person so that they feel cared for is humbling and an honour. Many of our VIPs live alone & for them to spend a week with company & to be treated with loving care makes such a difference to their physical & psychological wellbeing.

What would you say to someone thinking of coming to Lourdes as a nurse for the first time?

You will find the experience very rewarding & uplifting. Once you have experienced a pilgrimage to Lourdes, you will want to come back again & again.

Sue - I am a qualified Nurse, we also have Nurse lecturers, Carers, allied health professionals such as social workers, dieticians, physiotherapist who also volunteer.

I have been to Lourdes 14 times

Lourdes is an amazing place where you witness the beauty of giving, caring, faith and fellowship that developes in all ages.

I work as a volunteer Nurse both in the Accueil and around Lourdes domain. This can be hands on care, teaching newbies, supporting pilgrims and volunteers.

Volunteering in Lourdes means I can use my skills from my day-to-day work to help those in need, outside their own environment when they may feel more vulnerable. It allows me to work with amazing selfless people and meet wonderful pilgrims along the way.

I am most inspired by the way the Lourdes family comes together to love care and nurture each other during the pilgrimage, every pilgrimage is different and give me so many treasured memories.

It is difficult to explain the sheer joy you will experience if you volunteer, however be brave we need people from all different backgrounds and skills and you will feel empowered by what you feel and experience on a pilgrimage which will last a lifetime.