Oblate Youth Service work in Lourdes

History of the OYS in Lourdes


History of Lourdes - The Beginning

History of LourdesThrough the history of Lourdes from the beginning of the apparitions to the present day, it has been a place of comfort, challenge, and hope to millions of pilgrims of all ages, no matter where they have journeyed from. 

The interesting history of Lourdes began in February 1858, when a young girl by the name of Bernadette was out collecting firewood with her two friends down by the river. While near a small cave at the river side she looked up and saw as she said later ‘a lady dressed in white with a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot’. It was the first of 18 apparitions that Bernadette had with Mary the mother of Jesus where she spoke with her.

Since that time pilgrims have been travelling to Lourdes, with over 6 million people visiting the shrine each year. Pilgrims come to Lourdes carrying prayers of petition for others as well as themselves.

Lourdes HistoryHistory of Lourdes - The Oblates

The history of the Oblates tie with Lourdes began in 1883. 25 years after the apparitions, the first ‘official’ English speaking pilgrimage to Lourdes took place. It was organised by the Oblates and was led by Fr William Ring OMI. The pilgrims travelled overland from Dublin and London. Since then Oblates and pilgrims from Ireland and the UK have been travelling to Lourdes annually.

The history of the Oblate pilgrimage to Lourdes reveals the dedication of the hundreds of volunteers who care for the 120 sick pilgrims who form the heart of the pilgrimage at the shrine. However, all receive something whatever it is from their time of being together in Lourdes.

History of Lourdes - Oblate Youth Service 

History LourdesThe history of the Oblate Youth Service began in Lourdes in 1987.  The group had grown from what was known as the ‘Overland trip’, where adults and young people travelled by bus and spent a few days on holiday before arriving in Lourdes. From those humble beginnings the Oblate Youth Service was ‘born’ and from the very beginning the idea of ‘service’ was at the heart of what the Oblate Youth Service is about. Through its history in Lourdes, the group would always try to be aware of the needs of those invalid pilgrims who they are privileged to serve.

Members of the Oblate Youth Service also become aware of the needs of others within the group. There is a strong degree of togetherness within the group, particularly when carrying out care work in Lourdes. Members of the Oblate Youth Service are aware of a level of self-sacrifice that is required in the area of service to others. This is not always easy, but it is and always will be a central core element of what the Oblate Youth Service is and what it does, wherever it finds itself.

Oblate History of LourdesSt Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates, whose spirit is the example that the Oblate Youth Service follow, was always aware of the generosity, energy, and commitment of  young people. He saw their ability to reach out to others in need. He invited them to share in what he was doing. Today, this is what the members of the Oblate Youth Service are invited and challenged to do in Lourdes and wherever else they may find themselves to be. Members of the group are encouraged to use their own individual gifts, skills and talents in reaching out to others.

Oblate History Lourdes