Third Saturday in August

Our Lady of Lourdes, Mission, British Columbia, Canada

In 1887, French priest Louis-Joseph d'Herbomez, missionary to British Colombia and then its Vicar, traveled to Rome to attend the general chapter of his order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. At 65 years old and in frail health, Rev. d'Herbomez vowed that if God permitted his return to Canada, he would build a shrine to Mary. He did return, and before his death in 1890, put instructions for the shrine in his will. He wanted it built on a rocky outcrop near the Fraser River that reminded him of Lourdes, where he and his colleagues often prayed, on the grounds of St. Mary's Mission, a residential school for First Nations girls about 40 miles east of Vancouver. With help from Canadian and American supporters, the Oblates built the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1892. It is not the familiar outdoor rock shrine, but a six-sided cedar enclosure topped by a cupola, dome, and cross, containing a statuary grouping of the apparition at Lourdes. For many years the site of processions and pilgrimages, the Grotto was demolished in 1965 along with the abandoned buildings of old St. Mary's. Some 20 years later, the Knights of Columbus and the Mission Heritage Association started a campaign to rebuild it. The new Grotto, which opened May 13, 1997 within the Fraser River Heritage Park, hosts an annual pilgrimage on the third Saturday in August, by both Roman and Greek Rite (Ukrainian) Catholics. After mass, the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes is carried in procession up the hill to the Grotto, where First Nations participants lead the rosary.

Sources include:

bulletGresko, Jacqueline, "Herbomez, Louis-Joseph d’," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online,
bullet"The Grotto," Fraser Valley Heritage Park,
bullet"Bishop Ken celebrates Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Lourdes, Mission BC annual Pilgrimage," Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster,
bullet"Mission, BC: Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto," photo taken August 19, 2006 (above),

Also commemorated this date:

bulletNuestra Señora de las Lindes, Carmona, Cabuérniga, Cantabria, Spain (Saturday after St. Roch's day, August 16)
bulletNuestra Señora del Moral, Ucieda, Ruente, Saja-Nansa, Cantabria, Spain
bulletVirgen de los Dolores, Bolulla, Alicante, Valencia, Spain. Floral offering opens 4-day fiestas honoring St. Joseph (Sunday), Virgin of Sorrows (Monday), and Blessed Sacrament (Tuesday).

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly