In 1858 in small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees, a young peasant girl named Bernadette witnessed a series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Now around six million pilgrims flock to Lourdes every year. Schedules are tightly followed and include visits to the grotto, bathing in holy water at the baths, attending mass and gathering each evening at dusk for the candlelight procession. Every visitor has an individual story and Lourdes attracts people from all backgrounds and generations. Most leave with some sense of spiritual healing, while the sick often feel a renewed strength in facing their illness. This project aims to tell the stories of those who go to Lourdes and to create a narrative between the people and the landscape, the light and the dark and the spirituality and sense of hope that permeates the Sanctuary of ‘Our Lady of Lourdes.’
This is an ongoing project that ties in with my dissertation and MA in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage at SOAS, University of London.