The Society of Our Lady of Lourdes was founded in March 1912 and is a registered charity. It organised its first Pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1922. Despite the General Strike in 1926 and the depression of the 1930's, it established a regular programme of annual pilgrimages, disrupted only by the Second World War.
By the early 1990's, the Society's.......
ENGLISH NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE
for the sick comprised around 750 pilgrims. Most of our pilgrims are accommodated in the Accueil (hospital), whilst the remainder are looked after in their hotels. The Rt. Rev. Christopher Budd, Bishop of the Plymouth Diocese, took over from the late Cardinal Basil Hume as leader of the pilgrimage in 1990, and continued to lead the pilgrimage till 2002. During those thirteen years the Society built up close relationships with the helpers from the Plymouth Diocese and their pilgrims, as well as with their youth group, nicknamed "the bluebirds"; For the last eight years our pilgrimage leader has been Rev.Fr Michael Fewell. Fr Michael is parish priest at the Blessed Sacrament, Gorseinon on the northern Gower Peninsula and he has been a staunch supporter of the Society for over twenty years.
In May 1989, St. Bede's and Holy Family schools from Yorkshire were on pilgrimage, having set up camp on a nearby site. We were getting ready to take our pilgrims to a service when one of the schoolmasters asked if we needed help with transportation. This was an offer too good to be true and in no time the students were trained and eager to do their work. A strong working relationship subsequently developed and the pilgrimage has been enriched by the schools' involvement.
Objectives of the Society
To promote devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. To organise pilgrimages to Lourdes and services in Her honour. To provide financial and other assistance to enable pilgrims who cannot afford the cost to go to Lourdes.
Two masses are offered each week, one for living Friends, the other for deceased Friends of the Society. There is also a monthly Mass offering for deceased Friends on the Society's obituary list. Each year, in February, around the Feast of Our Lady on 11th February, the Society organises an Annual Mass and Service at Westminster Cathedral in central London.