Catholic Association Hospitalité of Our Lady of Lourdes

The Catholic Association Hospitalité of Our Lady of Lourdes – CA Hospitalité for short – exists to bind together the volunteer pilgrims, known in French as Hospitalier(e)s, who help in the service of all pilgrims – especially our assisted pilgrims (the sick) – during the Pilgrimage; doctors, nurses, handmaids (female helpers), brancardiers (male helpers), chaplains, and praying members. The Hospitalité is a religious sodality in the Catholic Church, with a strong social and spiritual element and it is affiliated to the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes (the central Hospitalité coordinating most volunteers in Lourdes throughout the year).

The principal aims and objects of the CA Hospitalité are set out in the Constitution (and summarised above the application for membership) as follows:

a. To serve the assisted pilgrims going to Lourdes on the Catholic Association Pilgrimage and to help in the smooth running of religious and other activities involving assisted pilgrims on that Pilgrimage under the direction of and in collaboration with the Pilgrimage Directors and Heads of Service.

b. To strengthen the bonds of fraternal life between its members and to help them maintain their obligations as Christians, their responsibilities in the Church and their devotion to Our Lady. This service consists especially of looking after the material needs of the sick pilgrims although the obligation of a member of the Hospitalité is not limited to material work. Members will be expected to help all pilgrims to benefit fully from the religious and social benefits of a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Volunteer pilgrims may apply for membership of the Hospitalité on conclusion of their first pilgrimage. The Hospitalité Council may admit to the membership any class of person or individual who, in their opinion, renders suitable services to the sick. Following approval by the Hospitalité Council, applicants will be admitted to ordinary membership during their next pilgrimage to Lourdes, having made an Act of Consecration before the Patron or Chaplain. After working with the Pilgrimage for a further two years as members, helpers may apply for admission to full membership of the Hospitalité the following year. The Hospitalité Council may also invite ‘Sick Pilgrims’ to become full members of the Hospitalité who support the organization through their prayers.

It is worth remembering that members are encouraged to take the Spirit of Lourdes home with them and to promote the pilgrimage, in particular by recruiting other volunteers and by making known the facilities provided for Sick Pilgrims, both those who need to stay in an Accueil (house of welcome for the sick) and others who would be better served in a hotel.

Hospitalité membership is free, though this is always being reviewed by the Council.

The CA Hospitalité is governed by a Council consisting of some ex-officio members who are Pilgrimage Officers (on the Pilgrimage Management Committee), and three members elected each for three years on a ‘rolling’ programme. The Council elects its own Officers, the President has a seat on the PMC, and the Council has power to co-opt members for a specific purpose. The Council is the driving force of the Hospitalité and will constantly seek to improve the way in which the Assisted Pilgrims are cared for. Their main purpose is to look after the AP’s.

As at January 2017 the CA Hospitalité Council consists of:

  • Bishop Peter Doyle, Northampton (Patron)
  • Mrs Anne Hoskins (President)
  • Mr Christopher Talbot (Secretary)
  • Mr John Hirwe (Treasurer)
  • Mr Richard Hargreaves (Chief Brancardier)
  • Miss Ciara Jackson (Chief Handmaid)
  • Dr Nuala Mellows (Chief Medical Officer)
  • Mrs Theresa Mahon (Chief Nurse)
  • Rev Fr Nicholas King, SJ (Chaplain)
  • Mr John Toryusen (Leader of the Young Helpers’ Group)
  • Miss Ella Corcoran (Elected Member)
  • Mr Christopher Page (Elected Member)
  • Vacant (Elected Member)