Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lourdes retrospective!

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!!!


Aerin said...

He seems so tall! Glad they enjoyed the trip to Lourdes - thanks for the photos!

King Aardvark said...

Wow, your aunt is in tremendous shape. Looks a whole lot better than my grandma (actually grandpa's 2nd wife) did in her 70s.

Religious con-job aside, Lourdes looks like a reasonably nice place. Let's just say that it's a whole lot nicer looking than where I am right now (suburban wasteland just outside of Toronto).

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Aerin!!!

Hey King Aardvark!!!

True, Lourdes is very pretty from this angle. The convent where we were staying is on one hill and the grand Basilica is on the side of a facing mountain with a river valley in between.

But... the funny thing about Lourdes is that aside from this one scenic view, most of the city is quite ugly. It got built up rather rapidly (by European standards) because of religious tourism, and so most of the town is block after block after block of boxy hotels and souvenir shops. Luckily the mountains hide most of that from the postcard view of the basilica...

AnnM said...

Turner (sitting on my lap) says he likes the Piston Cup t-shirt Leo is wearing. "Yay, Speed McQueen!"

Cars is the one movie I can get behind him watching repeatedly. Excellent soundtrack.

Anonymous said...

OMG, screw Lourdes. The boys are so beautiful! And Leo in that last picture is just too adorable for words. Those eyes! You and your sweetheart have made some beautiful babies. Apparently beauty runs in the genetic code of your family, knowing what I do of it. :-)

Thanks for sharing the pix - what a treat.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sam-I-Am!!!

That's so funny -- my kids help me blog too, and they love the pictures!!!

Cars is probably the all-time favorite movie at our house. ;^)

Thanks Tom!!!