Experience of Lourdes – Darragh McKevitt:
Not knowing what to expect from the trip, I made the decision to go somewhat hesitantly. We were a random group of young people and most of us didn’t know anyone else. We did have some preparation sessions, but I feel that it was the experiences we had when actually in Lourdes that bonded us together.
All I can say about the experience was that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Having worked with and assisted people, most of whom were severely limited physically or intellectually, you gain a much greater appreciation of your own fortune in life and find yourself giving thanks for what you have. In comparison to these people, our problems were very small indeed.
Speaking for the young people that made the pilgrimage, most of us were not there for religious reasons, although that is of course the essence of Lourdes, but more for the altruistic aspect of it. That said, it was nice to be in the company of like-minded young people who shared similar values and beliefs. We wanted to give of our time to help those less fortunate and less able-bodied than ourselves. This common motivation was the key to us developing friendships that will last a long time.
I could not recommend this more if you are the kind of person who is not afraid to roll up their sleeves and give of themselves to better someone else’s life. It certainly helps to be outgoing and friendly, as the patients really appreciate someone who is willing to have a chat with them!