Belvedere College - Lourdes - Dublin

Lourdes - Dublin

Lourdes - Dublin

Dublin Diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2017

Dublin Diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2016 - Jack Porter

The first of the three Belvedere Lourdes 2016 groups travelled with the Dublin Diocese from the 6th to the 13th of September.
Accompanied by Mr. G.J. Foley, Mataeusz Basiejko and with the leadership of Brother Eamon Davis we flew into Bilbao. After a four hour journey by bus we arrived in Lourdes where we began our pilgrimage.
The student group was made up of Darragh Devilly, Michael Fay, Richard Houston, Peter Maher, Jack Nolan, Shaun O’Flaherty, Lorcan Stone and myself, Jack Porter.
The group found the whole experience of the pilgrimage very uplifting. For many of us it was the best thing that we had been involved in since we  started in Belvedere. We all had many high points and can't wait to return again next year.
The most important moment that I experienced in Lourdes was when I was asked to take a lady called Therese to a ceremony.
Therese had an accident while working as a social worker which left her disabled. I found out later that she lost her hearing in one ear and also lost her long sight. Since the accident she can only see 5 inches in front of her face with specialised prescription red tinted glasses.
On arriving at her bedroom I noticed her sitting in a wheelchair. She was trying to have a conversation with another pilgrim. The other pilgrim had no time for Therese who was beginning to realise this. I went over to her and sat on the end of her bed. At the time I was oblivious of her disabilities. We started to chat and I loved her company. She shared so many stories with me.
It wasn’t until I noticed she wasn’t looking at me when she spoke that I realised Therese was almost blind. I became upset with myself. I did not know what to do. I had never spoken to a blind person before. When she asked me to take her up to mass I was overjoyed to be trusted with this responsibility by her. She then told the nurses she didn’t want them to come and that I was able to look after her. I felt so proud that I had made her feel so safe in my company. It is the simple things like being present that makes Lourdes so special.
While pushing her wheelchair I leaned down to speak with her and she told me to come around to her left side. I only then realised that she was deaf in her right ear. Now I was really nervous again! This person was relying on me to be not only her eyes but her ears as well. When we got into the lift to the building, we were met by two lads. She explained to me that one of them was very nervous but she wasn’t able to tell why. I told her that he was saying a reading in the mass. It suddenly dawned on me how much this woman has had to adapt to her circumstances and the special skills she had developed.
Through listening intently to her weak voice she taught me what a year of school couldn’t give me.  I learned that you must not take anything for granted, you have to be grateful for each day. It has also reaffirmed for me that we should always look at the person and past any physical impairment. These are the life lessons that a place like Lourdes teach you.
This experience put me in a position of responsibility like I have never experienced. Through meeting this kind, thoughtful person who trusted me to look after her I learned a lot about myself.
I will always be very grateful to Therese for that.
The week flew by and we all have treasured memories of our time with the guests. We all got to experience being "men for others" and learned the true meaning of the phrase that Br. Davis often uses "It is in giving that we receive."

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