What is Lourdes?
Lourdes in Litchfield is a 35-acre Montfort Missionaries shrine and replica of the more famous Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France, where every year millions journey to honor St. Bernadette’s 1858 vision of the Virgin Mary.
The Litchfield adaptation of this holy place was established in 1958 for those who are unable to travel to France and now serves as a place of prayer, reflection, and spiritual healing. Led by head director Father William Considine, and four other missionary priests, worship is conducted outside in the “cathedral without walls” every Sunday from May 1 through mid-October. Services include everything from wedding-vow renewals, to worship for specific nationalities, to the annual Blessing of the Motorcycles.
Although founded by the Catholic Montfort Missionaries, the community welcomes all denominations and offers services in a variety of languages, including English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Haitian Kreyol. While the main attraction is the grotto, the site is home to several other shrines including the Sacred Heart, St. Michael, St. Jude, St. Joseph, and St. Louis de Montfort. The beautiful wooded property also features the Way of Cross, crucifixion scenes which weave around trails and up the hillside.
There is no admission fee to enter Lourdes, as the shrine relies on visitor donations and its almost 200 volunteers to keep it running. The property is open for visits daily from sunrise to sunset. Lourdes is located off of Route 118 in Litchfield. shrinect.org