Volunteer Helper – Are you interested in volunteering? The pilgrimage would not be possible except for the wonderful helpers who give their time and dedication to the pilgrimage. The volunteers are collectively known as the Dublin Hospitalité and comprise of the following: Handmaids – the name given to female volunteers; Brancardier – translates to stretcher-bearer and is the name given to male volunteers; Nurses; Doctors and members of the Dublin Lourdes Choir.
Handmaids and Brancardiers
The role of the Handmaid and Brancardier is multifunctional – to make the Sick Pilgrim’s stay in Lourdes as comfortable, meaningful and as enjoyable as possible. To volunteer you do not need any special skills or knowledge. All duties are based around assisting the Sick Pilgrims, such as helping them at mealtimes, assisting them to and from Ceremonies and Processions, tending to their rooms, talking and listening to them and organising and sharing parties in the Accueil. They also assist and accompany the sick to the Baths, visits to the Grotto, on shopping trips and to the picnics. Our helpers also assist in stewarding during processions and ceremonies in the Sanctuary. Working with the Pilgrimage brings a two-fold reward – the joy of seeing the sick pilgrims experience Lourdes and the joy of helping the sick pilgrims throughout their time there. Lourdes is a wonderful place, full of love, sharing and caring. Here friendships are made in a moment and last a lifetime.
The Chief Handmaid is Ciara Murray and the Chief Brancardier is David Carrigy.
Rosaleen O’Malley is the current Director of Nursing and travels to Lourdes with a team of approximately 50 Registered General Nurses drawn from the live register. The role of the nurse is underpinned by a philosophy of care that places the Sick Pilgrim at the core of care giving and maintains a sensitive approach to meeting individual needs in a holistic and respectful manner.
The work of the Nurse starts long before the trip to Lourdes. From February onwards they visit potential Sick Pilgrims in their place of residence to assess their needs and plan for their nursing care while in Lourdes. These are extremely important visits as they provide the first point of face-to-face contact with the Sick Pilgrim. It is an opportunity to clarify the specific needs of each Sick Pilgrim and allay any concerns they may have in relation to travelling to Lourdes.
Dr. Maeve O’Reilly is the current Chief Medical Officer and she brings along with her a team of qualified doctors. During the 5 day trip to Lourdes, they look after the medical needs of the Sick Pilgrims on a round-the-clock rota basis. In the months prior to travelling to Lourdes this team is also involved in the selection of the Sick Pilgrims.
The Dublin Lourdes Choir travel each year and provide wonderful accompaniment to many of the ceremonies and processions celebrated during the pilgrimage. Fr. Paddy Boyle is the Chaplain to the Choir and it is directed by Dr. Sharon Lyons.
The Lourdes Folk Group is made up of helpers that perform at other ceremonies and special Hospitalité events around their duties tending to our Sick Pilgrims. They meet up throughout the summer to rehearse.
We have many talented musicians that travel as helpers and play at parties, ceremonies and around the Accueil, ensuring a lively and happy atmosphere for all our Sick Pilgrims.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Pilgrimage Office for further information.