Are you ready to Volunteer and make a difference in Lourdes?

Calling all young people over 16! Here’s an opportunity for you to volunteer and make a difference to people’s lives!

Lourdes can be a rewarding experience for those who volunteer (Photo: Alys Tomlinson)
Lourdes can be a rewarding experience for those who volunteer (Photo: Alys Tomlinson)

Every year, the Diocese of Westminster takes a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the French Pyrenees. The site of a series of apparitions of Our Lady to St Bernadette, Lourdes is now a place of healing visited by 5 million Roman Catholics each year.

They bring their sick and disabled on pilgrimage and there have been many documented miracle cures. The Westminster group is no exception. We bring a large number of sick pilgrims and rely on the help of people like you to care for them.

If you are between 16 and 18, you can serve as a ‘Red Cap’, helping push people in wheelchairs around Lourdes and taking part in the processions as part of the liturgy. Please contact Katrina Lavery at katrina.lavery@clovershipping.com if you would like to learn more.

If you are over 18, your help would be very much appreciated as a St Frai Helper. Some of our sick pilgrims in most need of support and medical care stay in a hospital-like building called the Accueil St Frai in the centre of Lourdes. It is well-equipped for their care and they are looked after by a team of doctors, nurses and volunteer St Frai Helpers.

The role of a St Frai helper is to support the nurses and provide the sort of care for which you don’t need a medical qualification. This includes helping the pilgrims get up and ready in the morning; making large amounts of tea; cleaning the wards; taking the pilgrims to various pilgrimage events; shopping and socialising with them and other helpers; and putting them to bed at night. The timetable is shared across two shifts so there is enough time to rest, make your own pilgrimage, spend time with your groups and make new friends.

All helpers work in small teams with team leaders to look after you and help you in what you are doing. Although plenty of people come back year after year, at least half the people in your team will, like you, be working in the St Frai for the first time. We run training for all helpers beforehand and ensure that you are happy and supported in everything you do.

Helping in the St Frai is an extremely moving and rewarding experience. Working in the St Frai is an opportunity to give our care and company to our pilgrims and make a huge difference in their lives.

If you’re interested in helping in the St Frai in Lourdes, please email chief helper Nick Leonard and team at westminsterstfrai@gmail.com.

Serving on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in any capacity is a hugely rewarding experience and an opportunity to make a very positive difference in the lives of the people we care for.

To read stories from previous Lourdes trips, check out our articles here!