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The St. Helen's Lourdes Fund was set up by my husband way back in 1996 and has every year been able to offer financial assistance to those from our parish who have a genuine need to visit the famous Marian Shrine of Lourdes but do not have the financial means to do so. Unlike, many of the bigger charities we do not receive any sponsorship from Companies etc., but rely solely on our fundraising events i.e., boot sales, raffles, quizzes, Burns supper dinners, sponsored walks etc. All monies raised will be for the St. Helen's Lourdes Fund based at Our Lady Help Of Christians and St. Helen, Westcliff-on-Sea.
You may be asking why do people wish to visit Lourdes? People from all over the world are drawn to this little place nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. Lourdes radiates peace, hope and a refreshing of the spirit. A joy to witness peoples kindness and generosity to each other. A unique coming together. For Christians the revival of faith, for the infirm a hope of recovery or comfort of spirit. For the suffering heart a reason to hope. To witness young helpers tending to a sick child, because they want to, not for any monetary reward or another chatting to the elderly or infirm. Doctors and Nurses giving up their precious holiday time to come and oversee the sick pilgrims.
We are all sick in someway, whether in our spiritual life, bodily or mind. Lourdes offers hope and peace to all.
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas.
In 1858, a young poorly educated girl was living with her parents, and three siblings in a disused prison cell "Le chachot". Life here was desperate. On a cold damp, misty morning, February 11th 1858, Bernadette and her sister Toinette went to gather firewood close to the town rubbish dump, near to the River Gave. Whilst waiting for her sister to return, there began a series of wonders that was in time to bring Bernadette and the little of town of Lourdes to the attention of the entire world. Bernadette saw Our Blessed Lady. Over the coming weeks Bernadette saw her a further 17 times. She was given various messages to give the local priest; to build a church, come in procession, and to pray for sinners. During one such apparition Our Blessed Lady told her to go to the spring and take a drink and wash herself. There are many, many miraculous cures that have been attributed to this water, that is still running to this day, at the Grotto.
This is such a potted version of the life of St. Bernadette that given the opportunity I could talk for hours. The amazing sense of peace and uplifting of the spirit is just intoxicating.
So yes, times are hard, money short, and so many worthy causes to support, but if you could spare anything it would be greatly appreciated and wisely spent to enable this wonderful 'gift' of a visit to Lourdes to as many as I can. The cost per Adult is £630. If you have lost a loved one and would like to sponsor a place on our pilgrimage in their name, how amazing would that be? Thank you for taking the time to read our story.xxxxx
We aim to help as many people as we can and this year the fund needs a further £630. Can you help us?