2 comments on “My personal experience with Lourdes

  1. I think one of the most striking features of today’s continuation of Lourdes was the idea of medical humanities. While the mechanics of how Lourdes became a healing spring, with the vision of the Virgin Mary, seems fairly straight forward, my questions in the dealings of medical ethics lie in how the spring continued being considered a healing spring. I’m sure there were political, economic, and social factors all contributing to this, but how has the spring retained its image over the years while all these factors invariably change? While this may be somewhat less so today, much of “healing” in antiquity was done via pilgrimages. However, this seems counterintuitive because if someone was sickly enough to need divine intervention, I wouldn’t think trekking them long distance (and in very poor modes of transportation) would be a very good therapy. But there in lies the question: Why did they keep doing it? I would like to think that possibly there was some healing gained and that they did this because of logical results; however, this encompasses societies that believed in leeching and continued the practice for centuries, a method we know today has absolutely no basis in science and actually further debilitates the individual because they’re losing much needed white blood cells. Therefore, I can’t reasonably believe this practiced continued because of quantitative effects brought on by the water, begging the question, what did continue it?
    While the drinking of water is very important for pathology because it helps filter the lymphatic system–your body’s means of getting what your immune system needs to see to the correct immune cells–I would tend to believe that not enough extra water was consumed at these sites to make a difference in that way (but keep at it, Roxanne!).

  2. I really enjoyed viewing the movie Lourdes last week. When watching the movie I was struck by the depiction of the role of contact and proximity in the rituals at Lourdes. In class we discussed the idea of the body as a medium of experiencing the world and the transformation of they body through physical immersion in the elements of the healing place. In the movie this was depicted in the scenes of bathing and touching of the rock at the grotto. However, there also seemed to be a perception that closer or prolonged exposure was necessary. For example, when Christine was wheeled to the front of the seating during the blessings or how the Miss Cecile worked at Lourdes so as to stay in constant contact with the sacred. However, there seemed to be mixed feelings about those who seemed over eager to prolong contact with the sacred. Everyone who goes to Lourdes because they want to get better and believe that at Lourdes that could happen yet when Christine is wheeled to the front of the audience during the blessing she is frowned upon, as is the woman who asks what exactly one must do to be physically healed.

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