Our Lady of Lourdes
St. Laurent Shrine
The First Miracle
Places of Worship
Saskatoon RC Diocese
Prince Albert Diocese
Lady of the Prairies
This was a new trial for my wife Juliette and I. We had many questions and comcerns, and most significantly we had to face our fears. The biggest fear was not knowing what was to come. So the journey began. My wife took the month off to walk with me through the continuous barrage of tests. Before we started Julie and I went on a special fishing trip. We went to Big River and the Debden area where we lived when we were first married. A favorite spot of ours was called Deep Lake. Even though the lake is now on a First Nation Reserve we decided to go there anyway.
They say God works in mysterious ways. When we went fishing there was a family on the beach who we sat and visited with. In conversation we were having my wife told them that I had cancer and the struggles we were having. At that point the teenage daughter looked at me and said "BELIEVE". I think at that moment something or some one was speaking to my heart. I took those words :You just have to believe at heart.
On June 15th I got my first of 12 Chemo treatments. What an experience. The first few days were o.k. but by the sixth day I was definitely beginning to struggle. My digestive system took a beating. I had gotten a blockage between the stomach wall and the small intestine.This put me in the hospital for 6 days. Shortly there after I was due for my second treatment but I was too weak and my white blood cell count was too low. With in a few days my hair started falling out in patches. I asked my daughter Lisette to shave my head, which was a very hard thing for her to do. My 3 brothers shaved their heads. My sister Blanche organized Prayer sessions. chemotherapy was postponed till July 12th with only half the chemical strength.
On July the 16th we attended the Pilgrimage in St.Laurent. There we attended Mass for the sick and was anointed. Later we went to Mass in the Grotto where five Bishops and many Priests were celebrating. I sprinkled myself with Holy Water and asked for healing.
On July the 22nd I received the third chemotherapy.I asked Blanche to set up another Prayer Meeting at St, Martyrs Church because I felt like I had hit a brick wall. Next day I was admitted to hospital with a fever of 104 degrees and my lungs were functioning at 16%
On August the 2nd approximately 200 friends and family gathered gathered for Healing Prayers. They didn't know that I was struggling for my life. There were five more Prayer Sessions ending finishing the same time as my 12th treatment. I was still in hospital and they could not resume treatment until my lungs were better. They were anxious to get the treatments going as the cancer was a rapid growing type.
Even though the Doctors were not optimistic about my out come, for some reason I was telling my visitors that I was getting better and that I didn't need treatment any more.
In September I attended a family Prayer Session. I was profoundly moved by the love and the strength that I felt in the Church. The Power of the Presence of God was over whelming. At this Prayer Session my brother in law Bernard proclaimed that I was healed. I felt goose bumps and felt like the hair on my back stood straight up.
At the beginning of September I was put through a battery of tests. On September the 7th we went for my fourth chemo treatment.My oncologist surprisingly told us there wasn't a trace of cancer in my body and my lungs were back to normal. I was in remission. The family continued to meet as scheduled for Thanksgiving.
I don't know why God choose to heal me but I know that he has plans for my family and me. I am ready and waiting for signs from God to direct meas to how he would like me to serve Him. One thing I know, there is tremendous Power in Prayer. Through Prayer the Power of Healing works it's miracles. I am a walking testament of that.
So you want to know what I got out or how I feel about these Prayer Sessions,well there are a few things that I have:
by El Melo
Well I really was not sure what to expect when I went to the Pilgrimage.
I had only been to one up until now and from my understanding the Pilgrimage for St. Theresa the Little Flower is considered to be small. I became a little concerned when I turned off the highway and started to follow the dirt road to the Pilgrimage site. I had fortunately missed the small deluge that seemed to have proceeded me. The road was muddy, a bit rutted and slow going. My concerns were alleviated as a smile came to my face as I started to pass some of the pilgrims that were making their way by foot. The sun had come out and it was looking like it was going to be a beautiful day.
Upon my arrival at the site I was surprised to see so many campers, cars and people. There were small puddles here and there but everyone seemed to be happy. I got out of my car and the first words to greet me over the intercom system were that there was a need for volunteers to help get some of the water out of the grotto. Not sure what to expect or where to go I decided that this would be a fine time to see the grotto for myself. After getting directions I made my way down a beautiful path. My smile widened as I passed small inspirational signs that marked the way, little did I know what was at the bottom. Firstly, I was greeted by Our Blessed Mother, a small statue that was placed there by a fellow Catholic who had promised it as he had prayed for help for his ailing wife. It truly was amazing to read on the small placard how not only had God answered his prayers and healed his wife but he too kept his word and did place that statue there for everyone to know about this miracle God had blessed him with. At the grotto I was almost taken aback by the beauty that surrounded me, Our Blessed Lady of Lourdes, a wreath of lights surrounding her head. A magnificent cross bearing our Lord Jesus. A wonderful large rosary adorning a small cavern. Then there were the people young and old, squeegees, snow shovel, and even a blower removing water from the concrete floor. I was fortunate in that I was only asked to help move a bench out of the way to make it easier for them. For a lack of tools or just a blessing from Our Lord I was able to stand and watch our brothers and sisters joyfully playing in the water as they cleaned up the grotto. It was completed in no time and not a complaint was to be heard.
So enthralled was I that I was a little late to the Charismatic Prayer Service in the log church. I have never been to a charismatic service before so I was not sure what I was about to witness. For those that have not been to one it is truly a wonderful thing. Accompanied by no more than an acoustic guitar I was able to hear my fellow worshippers singing praises to Our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. I could not help but feel the passion as I heard them sing and saw how some were moved to raise their hands to Heaven, reaching out praising God. The songs were beautiful and known by many, though unknown to myself I could not help but to feel blessed to be a small part of this truly devoted group of worshipers. There was time taken to explain what some chrisms are for the ignorant such as myself, I found this to be very enlightening. I sat and enjoyed the service immensely and only felt the need to leave the service for me to partake in confession.
As I have only returned to the church for a short time and am still learning, I felt the need to inform the Father about my ignorance. He was very kind and understanding and helped me to get started. It was with a raised spirit that I left the confessional, a new man, cleansed of my sins. Thanks to you My Lord and Savior. I was then able to finish my witness of an extremely beautiful and uplifting charismatic service.
After a fine meal I was then able to go once again to the grotto, this time it was to hear Fr. Larre. A fellow parishioner had informed me that he was a wonderful speaker. Needless to say I was looking forward to hear this man of God talk. Well if you have ever doubted miracles this is the man you should talk with. Himself a miracle in my mind, having to deal with polio at a young age is but the start, having to learn to walk after being told it would be impossible still is not all, having to learn to walk four times in one life is more than enough and yet there is so much more. I listened to him speak of the Miracle of St. Bernadette at Lourdes, another miracle that took place in North Battleford with a brother at the seminary, and if that was not enough he also let us know of yet another miracle that involved a Sister in Regina. Who would have thought such great and wondrous things took place so close to home. It made my heart happy to know the miracle in North Battleford was the one that made it possible for a Saint to be canonized. How great it is to be in a province as blessed as we are here! Now of note is that with all these wonderful miracles that the Father talked about he was also able to inject a lot of humor, most of which was aimed at himself, he truly is a humble man of God. I would think that I could safely say that everyone in attendance enjoyed his discourse.
Following the first part of his talk we were given half an hour for personal prayer. It was very much appreciated as I am sure that many took the time to thank Our Father for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon His people. For myself it gave me the opportunity to not only thank Our God but time for inward reflection on what it is that He has done for me. There are small miracles that He has performed for me in my life, my children and granddaughter are the first to come to mind. There are also large miracles that I do not feel the need to express at this time. These are miracles few will hear of and yet I am sure that many of my fellow Catholics have witnessed in their lives, young and old alike. Though we had half an hour the time seemed to go too fast for all the thoughts that I had, all the spiritual food that I had been given to digest. In no time at all dessert was being served.
The second part of Fr. Larre’s talk had a lot to deal with us. Being Catholic, helping not only ourselves but also the responsibility God has given us to help others. He let us know how important prayer is, it is the means by which we talk to Our Father asking help for us, those close to us and of course for those that are not believers. He went on to let us know that Sacrifice is more important than prayer. It is prayer with action. Not only do we pray when we make sacrifices we go beyond prayer, by making sacrifices we back up our prayers with actions. We show how diligent we are about our prayers, how much we are willing to go beyond words. Not to be outdone, this was followed with Love. It is through love for God, love for our families, love of our fellow brothers and sisters, love of those that are unable to find the True God, all this and more that we pray for is how we go through sacrificing ourselves to Our Father. Finally, there was our missionary work, this he explained did not have to take place in far off lands. We are able to do our missionary work here at home, at work, at school, at play. We do this by our conduct, by being long suffering to those that we may not agree with. The person that drives us nuts by not knowing how to drive properly in rush hour, not knowing how to do his job properly as we think it should be, not knowing when not to say something. These were ways that we can missionary at home we do not need to go further. An important thought that he conveyed to me was that there is someone out there that is waiting for us to find them and show them the way to the True God, Our Father, through His Son and in unity with the Holy Spirit, Our One God.
This was followed by the procession. It was so beautiful to watch as everyone waited in anticipation for the statue of Our Mother to arrive. Everyone was gathered in a circle around the many Fathers and attendants. When she arrived there was a silence that came over the crowd of pilgrims as she was placed upon the stand for all to see. Then after a few words of veneration to Our Lady the procession started down the hill to the grotto. With Our Lady near the front it was with awe that I followed. A sister led the crowd in the Hail Mary. Oh to hear it was beyond words. I found myself near the head of the mass migration and it was an amazing blessing to hear the sister start the Hail Mary, the crowd finishing it. To hear the Holy Mary Mother of God and when those around me were done, it was still traveling back along the crowd. I am sure that by the time it had reached the end of the procession it was only beginning again for myself and those around me. A never-ending song of thanks and hope.
The Celebration of the Eucharist that followed was so pleasant. It reminded me of how we do not pray to Mary but we do hold her in very high esteem. As we were reminded of Jesus’ words while He was on the cross at John 19:26, 27 -Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' One could not help but feel a love for her, a love that every child feels for their mother. As Jesus had provided a sacrifice for Adam’s sin to all mankind by following God’s will, she proved to be the New Eve, accepting what God had asked of her, doing His will. As we learned that she is known by many names Our Lady of Lourdes, Mother of God, The Virgin Mary, The Blessed Virgin, many names but still one woman and she is the mother of us all. How great to share a mother, to have so many brothers and sisters.
Following the Celebration was the procession of the Eucharist from the grotto to the log church. A sight like no other that I have been witness to. The Body of Christ being followed by pilgrims of all ages holding up small candles lighting the procession. I could not help but recall how He is the light of the world, how the angels outnumber the stars in the heavens. The thoughts, prayers, adoration, what a sight it must have been for Our Lord to look down upon us and see those lights in His Honor. Magnificent, is what came to my mind.
As awe inspiring as this was I could not help but wonder what Day two would hold out for the Glory of Our Father.
The second day held out another new feast for myself to dine upon. I arrived a little early, just as I was blessed by the beautiful statue on my way to the grotto the day before, today I was equally blessed by a statue of the Pieta. Our Blessed Mother cradling Our Saviour Jesus Christ in her arms, such a touching piece of art.
Just as the Charismatic Service the day before had been a new experience for me today would be no different. This day commenced with a Pipe Ceremony and Cree Mass. It was almost beyond words. The ceremony was started by one of the brothers bringing burning herbs around to everyone in attendance. With the smoke we were all invited to cleanse ourselves, the sweet aroma welcoming us to the ceremony. This was followed with an Elder using a drum to accompany him as he sang a song/prayer of praise. Although not understood one could easily feel the love and adoration that was offered to Our Lord. Out of politeness when the Elder was done he took the time to let us all know what this song/prayer entailed. He let us know how they had respect for some of God’s creations, the sun, Thunderbird, buffalo, but it was only Our God that was to be worshipped. He also went on to explain how he had prayed for the First Nations youth, how they were falling away from God due to the devils known as alcohol, drugs, and pills. I could not help but think how this was an issue for all youth and not just those of the First Nations. It made me think that though some see us outwardly as different people, we all face the same challenges. To me it is only those that are not of God that truly think that we are not equal or the same. Acts 10:34, 35 comes to mind – Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to.” Such a Loving Father to have. This was followed by a Mass officiated over by Our Bishop Albert, who reminded us how our Native brothers and sisters have long done what Our Pope has just made known concerning the earth and our duty to care for it. The Mass again was brought to a conclusion by the Elder who once again sang a prayer for us all. When this was completed everyone was invited to come and shake hands with everyone else, such a blessing this was. From one spiritual meal on to another as Our Father allowed me to attend the French Eucharistic Celebration. Though I do not speak French I was easily able to follow along with the Mass, it is truly easy to see how we all celebrate Our God the same. To listen to the voices as they sang songs I did not understand made no difference, they resounded of beauty and praise. To follow along with the Father who officiated in an unfamiliar language was of no consequence. I was still able to feel the love, the praise and glory that everyone offered up to Our God. I listened intently and was blessed with ‘peace be with you’, I was welcomed. I did not understand them but in my heart I knew what was being offered up to Our God and it was good.
After a fine lunch and some more time for personal prayer and reflection I was then able to partake in the English Eucharistic Celebration. The mass started with a quick downpour, it made me think that not only was I going to be able to take part in the Anointing of the Sick, but Our Father was starting the mass with an anointing of the land. It had been so dry of late that I am sure all of God’s creation was able to enjoy the rainfall. With all the fires that we have burning in our province up north, I could not help but think how we were witnessing the answer to many of the prayers God has heard of late. It also cooled down the air refreshing everyone after the heat that we had all been enjoying while we were at the Pilgrimage. This Pilgrimage started with a shower and ended with a shower, how fitting as we know that Our God is the same at the start as He is at the End.
Many come with tents and campers seeking guidence from
Our Lady of Lourdes at the St. Laurent Shrine.
Phone (306)467 4447
Joyce Fidler, President
1125, Macklem Drive
Phone (306)384 8629
To email Joyce
Linda Nosbush, Secretary
3123, Grey Owl Crescent,
Prince Albert, SK.
Phone (306)763 3014
To email Linda
Mary Vermette, Treasurer
1433, Goshen Place,
Prince Albert, SK.
Phone (306) 960 6711
To email Mary Vermette
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