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The Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Canadian Association

1247 Kilborn Place
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9
Phone : (613) 731-8897
Fax : (613) 731-1312



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Lourdes Pilgrimage

The Annual Lourdes Pilgrimage


Roman Catholics believe that our Blessed Mother appeared to a French peasant girl – Bernadette Soubirous – on 18 occasions over a period of months in 1858.  Our Lady requested that people come to Lourdes on pilgrimage.  Lourdes draws six million people a year.

After careful examination, the Catholic Church declared the events at Lourdes worthy of belief and has encouraged Catholics to pray to our Lady of Lourdes.  It, however, does not insist that Catholics believe this historical event as an Article of Faith.

The Church has recognized 66 miracles there; the International Medical Committee of Lourdes, a group of about 20 physicians, has certified another 2,000 unexplained cures.  Many of the pilgrims are sick hoping for physical healing and often experience interior miracles – people who are ill, even dying, who are able to leave Lourdes with an inner peace they did not feel before.  Bernadette died in 1879, was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.  Pope John Paul II visited Lourdes again in August, 2004.  He has made Marian piety one of the centerpieces of his papacy.

The International Order of Malta Pilgrimage to Lourdes is generally held from the first Friday in May for one week.  Over 5,000 pilgrims – members of the Order, auxiliary, clergy, physicians and nurses – bring hospital pilgrims and their caregivers to Lourdes from throughout the world.  Last year some 30 members and their families of the Canadian Association came to Lourdes.

The Canadian Association has been participating in the International Order of Malta Pilgrimage to Lourdes since about 1993.

During the pilgrimage, we wear the service uniform of the Order with a badge showing our nationality on our left shoulders and for the dames and lady helpers on a badge on the front of their uniforms.  We join with our confreres throughout the world in living the 900-year-old mission of the Order; Obsequim pauperum (service to the sick and the poor) and tuitio fidei (witness or defense of the faith).

Lourdes Pilgrimage 2006 – “First Impressions”

As a relatively new member of the Order of Malta, I have attended as many functions of the Order as possible and have spoken with as many members to get a feel for the Order, the expectations of its members, the scope of the work accomplished in Canada, and potential opportunities where one could make a difference. It probably comes as no surprise that one of the activities I had heard about, with some enthusiasm, is the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. The Quail family shared many different perspectives and experiences, and planted the seed. Early this year, I got the inexplicable feeling that “I had to go”. I didn’t know why, only that it was something that must be done.


The Order of Malta’s 54th annual international pilgrimage to Lourdes took place 03 May- 8 May 2010.  In excess of 7,000 order members, malades and volunteers, from some 35 countries attended. They all join in prayer and procession to honour the shrine where, 154 years ago a fourteen year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux, had received visions of the virgin Mary. Since then, the site has become one of the most visited religious shrines in the world and pilgrims come from every corner of the globe to seek peace and succour, in a place where the sick are surrounded by love and care and every pilgrim, whatever his need, is aware of the serenity of the environment. Pope John Paul II visited Lourdes in August, 2004 and had made Marian piety one of the centerpieces of his papacy.  As Knights, Dames and volunteers of the Order of Malta, the Lourdes pilgrimage reminds of duty to our Lords the sick and fulfills our commitment to participate in this, one of the Order's greatest works. The role of pilgrimage and the care of those who undertake Christian pilgrimage has been central to the ethos of our Order from its beginnings, and thus provides members with a direct link to our very foundations so many centuries ago.


For more information on the Canadian Association’s Lourdes Pilgrimage contact the national office in Ottawa.

For more information on Lourdes click Lourdes-france.com below.


Copyright 2008 Order of Malta

The emblems and insignia of the Order of Malta and the names of the Order of Malta are registered service marks of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta, Via Condotti 68 Rome ItalyI-00187, issued under license to the Order of Malta, Canadian Association.