Oct 16, 2011
How many people visit Lourdes of Litchfield?
Lourdes of Litchfield, a venerated Roman Catholic shrine to the Virgin Mary, consists of a 123-acre woodland property—and manor house—located just east of the Litchfield green. Founded by Marian Missioners in 1958, it is open year round and attracts as many as 600 visitors each day from early spring through autumn. Masses are also attended by as many as 500 at the shrine’s large outdoor, grotto-like space. Pilgrims come from near and far seeking—through prayer—solace, redemption and comfort at times of distress. The site also provides facilities for retreats, conferences, social and benefit programs and country picnics in a serene setting. Of the more than 150 such shrines across the U.S. this one is said to most closely resemble—in its rustic, hilly topography—the famed Our Lady of Lourdes in the foothills of the French Pyréenees. That shrine honors the vision of Mary by a 14-year-old local peasant girl later to be canonized as Saint Bernadette Soubirous. Father Bill (Considine) and the four other Missioner priests at Litchfield are—to say the least—devoted to Marian lore. Noting that while Lourdes of Litchfield is indeed an important and well-attended site, Father Bill said, “It can scarcely compare with Our Lady of Lourdes to which as many as five million pilgrims and tourists come each year. But then, there’s a blessed serenity to out scale of things.”