This past weekend, my little family went on a trip to Lourdes.
"What is an atheist family doing visiting one of the biggest religious pilgrimage sites in the world?" you may be wondering. Well, as I discussed here, my husband's aunt is a nun and lives there.
My husband's aunt is a really old lady -- she'll be turning 96 next month -- and she's amazingly healthy for her age. She's all there mentally, she can walk with just a cane, and she doesn't even appear to be losing her hearing. (Every time I see her, part of my little brain say to me "when ninety-six years old you reach, look as good you will not." One of the perks of not believing in God is you can have the still small voice channel Yoda if you like.) Anyway, my husband has kind of adopted her as a grandma since he doesn't have any living grandparents, so we've been visiting Lourdes every year or so for the past few years.
I have plenty of stories to tell you about Lourdes (how could I not? ;^) ), but first let's start with some photos of our various visits:
Leo was just a tiny baby for our first trip. Here we are walking down from the convent to the "sacred grotto" where Mary is said to have appeared.
The marketing genius of Lourdes: The water -- said to have miraculous healing properties -- is free. But... You don't want to bring home your magical water of Lourdes in an ordinary bottle!!! You need a Virgin Mary souvenir bottle for it, like the ones the woman in the background is holding.
Leo got a little bigger for our next trip.
Here Nico and his daddy are petting the Virgin Mary's sheep. Is this religious or sacreligious?
After watching Mary Poppins a few too many times, Nico thought that his aunty's hat and cane were for doing a song-and-dance number...
Here's Leo during our latest Lourdes adventure!!!