On August 27, 90 tired but spiritually refreshed pilgrims returned to Stonyhurst College, Lancashire, from the 47th annual Stonyhurst Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
The Stonyhurst party included a record 23 current pupils from the college, three assisted sick pilgrims, many former pupils, parents and friends.
The Stonyhurst pilgrimage was led by the college chaplain, Fr John Twist SJ. Fr Twist, in addition to leading the Stations of the Cross for the whole Catholic Association (CA) English pilgrimage, also led dawn Stations at 6.30am for hardy Stonyhurst pilgrims who were rewarded by seeing dawn break during the course of their Way of the Cross. Fr Hilary Thomas’s 40th pilgrimage to Lourdes and Brother Ted Coyle’s diamond jubilee of his profession were celebrated.
During the pilgrimage Mass at the grotto Fr Nick King SJ (a pupil at Stonyhurst in the 1960s) was made a chaplain of honour to the Lourdes sanctuaries by Bishop Paul Hendricks, acting on behalf of the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes.
Pupils from the college acted as brancardiers and handmaids helping in the Accueil Notre Dame (Hospital) and with taking the assisted pilgrims to services. Rupert Bell, a former pupil and chief brancardier of the CA English pilgrimage, took a coach party of assisted pilgrims to Gavarnie, high in the Pyrenees, close to the Spanish border, on the excursion day, where the sun shone while it rained in Lourdes. He was assisted by the current chief doctor to the CA pilgrimage, Dr Adam Farmer, a former pupil, as well as the previous chief doctor, Trevor Fernandez, and the Stonyhurst group doctor, Dr Nuala Mellows.
As usual, Stonyhurst hosted a party during the week for all Jesuit alumni in Lourdes. Representatives came from St Aloysius, St Ignatius, St John’s Beaumont, Mount St Mary’s, Stonyhurst and Wimbledon, including Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton (an old Ignatian).