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Lourdes Diary: Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille [Paperback]

James Martin

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Lourdes Diary: Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille + The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola University Press,U.S. (1 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829423974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829423976
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 13.8 x 0.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The sacred grotto at Massabieille, near the town of Lourdes in southern France, appeals to Catholics like no other place. This is the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, the place where Mary appeared to a humble peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and spoke words of comfort and simple faith.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Peter Fennessy - Published on Amazon.com
James Martin, associate editor of America Magazine, manages without any sense of cramming to fit into the 65 brief pages of this small book the story of his first trip to Lourdes and the events of his week there, the history of Lourdes itself and of St. Bernadette Soubirous, and reflections about pilgrims and pilgrimages and the Knights of Malta with whom he traveled. It is a simple story told simply, eloquently, engagingly, with self-depreciating humor and obvious devotion. It is a good refresher if you have been there, a foretaste if you intend to go, and a hint of God's ever-present grace whatever your travel plans. I do believe I shall read his longer work, My Life with the Saints.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and simple story of a visit to Lourdes. 6 Feb 2008
By Monica K. Van Ness - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author gives us the basic story of Bernadette and Lourdes, and how this site has been a place for people to meet God, and been a source of healing of all kinds for so many people in the last 150 years. The story of his first visit to Lourdes offers a more personal story of how a visit to Lourdes can affect people. Very moving!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A JESUIT PRIEST TELLS OF HIS OWN PILGRIMAGE 20 Mar 2014
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jesuit James Martin is also the author/editor of books such as Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, My Life with the Saints, Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints, Together on Retreat (Enhanced Edition): Meeting Jesus in Prayer, etc.

He tells the story of how the local Abbé Peyramale told Bernadette [after she told him of the vision], "'Ask her for a name... And, as an added test, ask her to make the grotto's wild rosebush flower.' During the next apparition, Bernadette did just that, but the vision merely smiled. No rosebushes bloomed and no name was given... ON march 25, the rosebush was still not in bloom, but a name was given. According to Bernadette, the vision clasped her hands and said... 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'" (Pg. 18)

He notes, "We land after a long flight... Seemingly all the hotels and shops at Lourdes have religious names, and it is startling to see a shop selling tacky souvenirs that is named after Charles de Foucauld, who lived in extreme poverty in the desert, or, worse, a knickknack shop under a sign proclaiming L'Immaculeé Conception." (Pg. 27-28)

He says, "After Mass in the ornate basilica, someone suggests a visit to the grotto, which I had assumed was far-off. But the church is built directly atop the rocky outcropping, and when i go around the corner and pass huge racks of tall white candies for sale, I am shocked to come upon it... as I approach I am drawn to the obvious peace of the place... Hundreds of people are gathered before the space... Many stand in line to walk through the grotto. Joining them, I run my hand over the smooth wet rock and am astonished to spy the spring uncovered by Bernadette. I am filled with wonder at being here." (Pg. 29-30)

Two days later, he recalls, "I am waiting for a turn at the baths. On long wooden benches under a stone portico sit the 'malades,' along with their companions and other pilgrims. Flanking me are two men from our pilgrimage with the Order of Malta... Carved in the stone wall are the Virgin's words to Bernadette: 'Go drink of the waters and bathe yourself there.' Every few minutes an 'Ave Maria' is sung in another language. After an hour, the three of us are called into a small room surrounded by blue and white striped curtains. Once inside we strip to our undershorts and wait patiently on plastic chairs... Inside a small chamber three men stand around a sunken stone bath... One volunteer points to a wooden peg, and after I hang my undershorts, he quickly wraps a cold wet towel around my waist. ('I think they kept it in the freezer for us!' says one of the malades at lunch.) Another volunteer carefully guides me to the lip of the bath and asks me to pray for the healing I need...Two of them gently take my arms and lead me down the steps into the bath, where the water was cold, but no colder than a swimming pool... Here, praying in this dimly lit room, in this spring water, held by two kind people, I feel entirely separated from the rest of my life. It's a kind of mini-retreat... And then---whoosh---they stand me up and point to a small statue of Mary, whose feet I kiss. Then I'm handed a quick drink of water from a pitcher... After the bath, i rush over to the Grotto of Massabielle, where our group is celebrating Mass. And, yes, the water dries from my skin immediately." (Pg. 41-43)

This book is an excellent, yet brief, account of a modern pilgrimage to the site. For those who can't/won't travel there themselves, the book does an excellent job of capturing the "atmosphere."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Martin is a treasure 26 Feb 2014
By Claire G Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read several of his books and find him both enjoyable and easy to read. He is especially good at communicating what is most difficult in terms of spirituality. He never forgets to see the lighter side as well which makes it more personal on his part.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but wonderful book 20 April 2013
By Diane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been to Lourdes so I could understand places he had gone, feelings he felt and
The need to go back. Wonderful writing in sharing experiences.
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