After a train journey of nearly 24 hours, we finally arrived in Lourdes at around lunch time.
Getting onto the train yesterday was really special. Even getting to the train was. Someone from the therapy centre gave us a lift to the train station and because we were a bit late packing up all our stuff and getting Pádraig ready, the owner of the therapy centre had prepared a huge food bag for Pádraig and us. Getting onto the train was again humbling. Everybody was so so helpful. And there were so many familiar faces from last year who were all so happy to see Pádraig again and who wanted to know how he was doing. When we got into Lourdes we hadn’t finished talking.
Pádraig is staying in the Accueil Notre-Dame, a hostel for injured and sick people of which one part has been taken over by our group: 50 sick and injured people looked after by around 60 helpers. The rest of the train, around 300 people, are staying in different hotels around town.
The same brilliant man as last year will be looking after Pádraig together with a new helper, sadly our friend from last year couldn’t make the trip this year. So Pádraig is amongst people he knows and who know him.
Lourdes is a place like no other. The atmosphere, the people, the surroundings – you wouldn’t find any of this anywhere else in this concentration. It’s wonderful to have had the time to getting here slowly. I have to think a bit more about what it is that made us come back. Equally, what it was exactly that brought us here in the first place. I know that the answer isn’t obvious.