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7000 pilgrims of the Sovereign Order in Lourdes for the 58th annual international pilgrimage

The British Association brings a large contingent

Lourdes, 1 May 2016

Lourdes - the basilica in the spring sunshine

Lourdes – the basilica in the spring sunshineAt the 58th annual international pilgrimage of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Lourdes, Grand Master Fra’Matthew Festing, in welcoming the pilgrims, reminded everyone that: ‘Our work here in these days is to help all our beloved malades – 1500 with us this year – and to make our pilgrimage with them’.

He greeted the Cardinalis Patronus, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who makes his second pilgrimage with the Order. And extended a special welcome to Mons.Jean Laffitte, the Order’s new Prelate, on his first. And he noted that every year new pilgrim groups take part – this year coming from Albania, Australia, Canada, Kenya and Senegal, with the British Association bringingt its usual large contingent. All were welcomed to Lourdes, ‘to this compelling sanctuary, which represents for us Bernadette’s physical suffering, but also her hope and belief in God, which is our hope too.’

This year, the pilgrimage saw around 7,000 members and volunteers present, with 3 cardinals, 14 bishops and archbishops, 200 priests and 12 deacons among them.

Lourdes - the Acceuil - tidying the wards

Lourdes – the Acceuil – tidying the wards

Lourdes - voiture and candles

Lourdes – voiture and candles

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.