How I became a Lourdes hospitalier

Published on 22 October 2018 - 09:00

Pierre is 60 years old. He was baptised but never went to catechism classes. When his wife became ill, he decided to go to Lourdes as a “tourist”.

I used to pray, but my prayers went unanswered. In my childish mind I said to myself: Like all men, Christ, is not kind. So, I prayed to Mary because mums love their children.

I got married and I had 3 children. My wife became ill. I knew vaguely about Lourdes. I decided to go with my family (actually as a tourist with a camcorder and a camera). At the Grotto we followed the pilgrims as they filed around the rock. My son and my wife were walking in front of me. In the middle of the grotto, something very strong and sudden happened. An intense emotion invaded my body and my mind, and tears flowed from my eyes without me being able to stop them. I did not understand why. As we came out of the Grotto, everything stopped as suddenly as it had started. I pretended to be filming so that people could not see my eyes. Even today, I do not know what happened. I even wonder if I was not perhaps confused or tired. We went home that same evening.

Over time something deep inside me started growing: a force that was pushing me to do something but what? So, I started looking: Catholic relief, Resto du Cœur, Secours Populaire? I didn’t feel that was it. One afternoon, thinking back to Lourdes, I looked for a site. I saw that people could serve in the sanctuary. I knew that I had found what I was looking for. I became a hospitalier. I made my first communion at Saint-John’s Cathedral in Perpignan. Leukaemia was found in my 7-year-old granddaughter. In a split second, your life can change. I had often asked the Lord not to test my faith because I did not know how I would react. Helpless, our only way to fight is to pray, and to pray again. One afternoon, in my daughter’s room, I recited a prayer. In the middle of it, you are asked to make the sign of the cross. My little girl was sitting on her bed, she could not see me. As I crossed myself, she looked at the ceiling and said three times, “Jesus.” She immediately started playing as if nothing had happened. I finished my prayer but did not dare to ask her what she had seen. Today, she is better. She is continuing her chemo. I am not able to say or understand what happened, but I want to believe that the Most High has given us a grace.
Pierre (France)

Pierrre Rodriguez in Lourdes