Cité Saint-Pierre (Secours Catholique)
This place of accommodating pilgrims was born from the idea of Bernadette Soubirous that those who had little or no financial resources could come on pilgrimage to Lourdes
In 1955, Monseigneur Théas, the, then, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, asked Monseigneur Rodhain, Secretary-General of Secours Catholique, to respond to the wish of Bernadette. He suggested that they acquire a property of several hectares, located beneath the Béout, only fifteen minutes, on foot, from the Grotto of the Apparitions.
This Cité is the sign of God's preferred choice for the poor. It is intended, first of all, for those eager to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes and who are living in situations of material, moral and spiritual poverty. It is not intended for those who wish to holiday in the Pyrenees.
To be accepted in the Cité Saint-Pierre, it is necessary to come to Lourdes, on pilgrimage, to be considered to be living in a situation of material, moral and spiritual poverty, not to have the means to pay for a hotel. Application must be made to the diocesan delegation or national office of Caritas of one's country.
Pilgrims can come to the Cité Saint-Pierre with children. Many rooms are set up to accommodate families with children. During the summer children can be given the opportunity to discover the message of Bernadette.
For the people who arrive without prior warning the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes has set up an organisation that expresses the way of love for all unforeseen circumstances. He entrusted this organisation to the care of Secours Catholique. This office is known as "Entraide Saint-Martin" and is organised by scores of volunteer helpers. It is located near St. Joseph's Gate and is open every day. These helpers are there to respond to the different calls of the needy.
The Saint-Pierre City is managed and led by 24 paid staff, 4 seasonal workers, 5 religious priests, a chaplain and, above all, by 100 volunteer helpers. Each year, more than 1000 volunteer helpers spend three weeks of their time helping in the Cité. They come from all walks of life and are of all ages. They come from many countries including France and are there to serve, to share their lives and to listen to others.
For pilgrims, the normal pilgrimage is from 2 to 5 days. For the volunteer helpers, the period of helping out is normally 3 weeks; however, for those who have to earn their living, it may only be possible only to stay for 2 weeks.
Adress : Cité Saint-Pierre
avenue Mgr. Rodhain
Fax : 33.(0)184.108.40.206.19.
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Entraide Saint-Martin (in the Sanctuary)
For those who have not reserved or called, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes has provided a place where everyone is welcome : "l'Entraide Saint-Martin".
A team of volunteers and an employee of Secours Catholique work there. It's situated in the Sanctuary, near the bookshop, and it's open every day. The Entraide is used to deal with emergency situations.