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Novena on returning home

Détail de la mosaïque du myst ère de l'Annonciation, basilique Notre-Dame du Rosaire, LourdesIn the days after your pilgrimage, it might be a good idea to recall the highpoints of your time in Lourdes. This may help you to answer the question: How can I live this in my everyday life?

  • How do I go about doing a novena at home? Here are some suggestions to help you. Take a candle home with you and light it everyday while you are saying your novena. Say the prayer of Our Lady continued blessings. Reflect on the thought for the day. Say a decade of the Rosary

    Whilst saying the Hail Mary, meditate on the mystery:
    In the «Hail Mary», you can evoke the mystery you've just meditated.
    For example : «Hail Mary,
    full of grace ; the Lord is with thee : blessed art thou among women, and blessed is your son Jesus who has given us the Our Father…».

    The order of the nine days have no importance.


Our Lady of continued blessings.

You remembered all things and pondered them in your heart
Help me to do the same
It is you who lived in obscurity in Nazareth,
Show me the way to love everyday.
It is you who spent company with Jesus
Help me to make more real the experience of my pilgrimage.
I also offer to you in prayer those I met in Lourdes
especially the sick and those with disability.
You asked for a chapel to be built
I pray for the community of which I member of.
Continue to look on me, you who is the Immaculate Conception
Mother of Mercy.

DAY 1 « It was easy to pray»

When you where in Lourdes were there places or times when you found it easier to pray? For many pilgrims their favourite place is the Grotto, in the silence.

Yes precisely in Lourdes you have the Grotto! However a crucifix, an Icon, a statue of Mary, a bible, these to is signs of the sacred. Added to that many churches are open during the week.

At the Grotto I was not alone. You are never alone. You are in communion with the saints and at the same time you are praying in and for the world. We are reminded of this when we pray the “Our Father”. In Lourdes candles are burning every moment of every day as a sign of the constant prayer of the Church.

Thought for the day: How is my prayer life? Is it growing? 

Meditate on the announcing of the Kingdom: Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee, blessed are you among women and him who gave us the Our Father, Jesus, your Son. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

DAY 2 «In Lourdes, I went to confession»

In Lourdes what was it that helped you go to confession? Can you in some way go back to that place in your heart in order to experience the joy and peace you received in Lourdes? Now you can think about the times when you could go to confession during the year at home.

Thought for the day: Are you able to avail of confession in your home parish? Maybe if this is not possible and you live in a larger town you could go to another parish and perhaps ask a priest to be your confessor.

Remember the words of the Our Father
(forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others….) there are many opportunities to celebrate God’s forgiveness, the Confiteor and the other words of the penitential rite. Actually think about these words and don’t just say them mechanically.

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Meditate on the death of Christ on the Cross: it is him who delivers us from sin, Jesus, your Son.


DAY 3 «I was touched by the witness given by the sick and their helpers»

In days gone by sick people were very visible in Lourdes. In our day thanks to medical advance this is less so. However suffering is still part of the human condition when we come face to face with our own limitations situation. Everyone is affected by Lourdes, the relationship we see between the sick and their helpers. The helpers themselves will tell you that they receive much more than they give. The person’s illness does not take away their taste for living but it makes us realise that all things are passing, it helps us to take stock of that which we have and to look at all aspects of our lives. 

Thought for the day: In the group that I was with the people who helped the sick did not miss anything. Who needed the attention? Was it me who was afraid? They devoted their time freely, without charge! How do you think the sick person or the person with disability dealt with the temptations of their faith? “Did God abandon me? (Hope) “I am near death” (Love) “I could just turn in on myself”

Mediate on the Visitation “and it is he heals the sick, Jesus your son…..”

DAY 4 «A vivid memory of my visit to the Cachot»

The Cachot is the second stage of the Jubilee Way. In this squalid damp hovel lived Bernadette, her parents and three siblings. On seeing this we cannot but be moved. It is an wonderful example of God choosing the poor and the humble. We have to be careful not to consider the story of Bernadette as nothing more than a fairytale: the little poor girl, sick and illiterate who for the last 150 years half a billion people have come here as pilgrims! 

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Thought for the day: If you had lived in Lourdes in 1858 what would you have thought about the Soubirous? Would have paid any attention to them or would they have been invisible to you? Which side would you have been on, would you have helped in the spreading of the rumours about them? Or perhaps you would have helped them! Obviously we are not in 1858. But who are the “Soubirous” in your midst today?


Meditate on the whipping of Jesus: “and it was him who was whipped, Jesus your Son….”

DAY 5 «Finding my place in the Church»

The woman imparted a task to Bernadette: go and say to the priests that the people are to come here in procession and build a chapel. The notion of procession is a reminder that we are a pilgrim Church journeying toward the Kingdom. The chapel is a place of assembly, principally for the celebration of Mass. During your time in Lourdes you will have taken part in the processions, symbolising the pilgrim Church and you gathered for Mass perhaps for either the Sunday or Wednesday international Mass, a community at prayer. But back at home in my parish it is not easy. I do not always feel I belong. The parish of Lourdes in 1858 was certainly not perfect. But it was the parish were Bernadette was baptised, it was her faith community and it was in this parish that the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette to bring her message to the world.

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Thought for the day: What do you ask of the Church and what can you do to help further the mission of the Church?



Meditate on the Pentecost: “and it was him who lived in the Church, Jesus, your Son…..”

DAY 6 «Bernadette, what courage !»

MBernadette had to overcome much on her journey, opposition, sceptism, fear and hostility. This came from many fronts, her parents, the police and other civil authorities, the sisters of the school she attended, the clergy: all opposed her at one stage or another for a variety of reasons. Bernadette weathered it all. What do you think of the words of Peter and John when they where before the Sanhedrin for the first time?  “We cannot remain silent of that which we have seen.” Or perhaps like Bernadette the statement is more accurate: I am not responsible for what you believe but only for that that I give witness to.

Thought for the day: What I am like when I am called to give witness? Can I have the same tranquil courage that Bernadette demonstrated?

Meditate on Jesus before Pilate: “and it was him who stood before Pilate, Jesus your Son…..”

DAY 7 «Lourdes, a friendly town»

Since pilgrimages started coming here, Lourdes has always had an incredible mix of people from all walks of life and different countries and cultures, the young and the old, the town dweller and the rural. It is also a place where the well and the sick person mingle freely among each other. In Lourdes much is said without words: the smiles, the simple gestures of one helping another, the obvious consideration of others. At the evening torchlight procession the faces illumed by the candles show people who are in somewhere in another place walking along side the neighbour realising that we are all the same. 

Thought for the day: How can I make this more real in my home place? How can I help to create a world where we put others first and help to lessen the growth of such an individualist society?   How can I better show by my way of living that I consider others? How can I show forgiveness and how can I have the humility to accept forgiveness? 

Mediate on Mary, crowned queen of peace, “and it was him who crowed you queen of peace, Jesus, your Son….”

DAY 8 «I am the bread of life»

At the centre of the Grotto stands the Altar. At 5:00 pm everyday there is the Blessed Sacrament procession. Lourdes has justly been given the name: the “Eucharistic Throne”. Bernadette made her first Holy Communion on the 3rd of June 1858. From that day forward she received regularly and was nourished by the Eucharist. In the service of the sick and in her own suffering she was united in the self-offering of Christ. The Eucharistic life is not limited to the celebration of Mass. 

Thought for the day: What are the circumstances for the Eucharist to be our nourishment? Is it a mere question of organisation? Of personal preparation? Of motivation?  Can I give more time to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; can I be more attentive at Mass? Can I be more present in my prayer before the tabernacle?  Our faith tells us that we will surely be nourished by this. 

Meditate on the institution of the Eucharist: “and it is him who is the bread of life, Jesus, your Son….”   

DAY 9 «Do whatever he tells you»

Mary is honoured in sanctuaries throughout the world. The words of the Magnificat are made real: “all generations will call me blessed” but first she lived her life in the obscurity of Nazareth, then with the apostles, of which we know little of her daily life. Mary comes to us to be with us in the ordinariness of our daily lives. With Mary we will always be united with her Son and the Church. In the midst of this we have the Rosary where we can meditate on the life of Christ and at the same time we can be in union with Catholics from all over the world. We look today to those things that can help in this, for example: the radio, the internet and television.

Thought for the day:
How can I be with Mary in my daily life? What specific instances can I bring her to mind for help and reflection? The Rosary is something that could help me in achieving this. 

Meditate on the wedding of Cana: “and it is him who performed the miracle at Cana, Jesus, your Son…..”