Lourdes Pilgrimages and the Cuban Association

The Cuban Association of the Order of Malta has been participating in the International Pilgrimages for many years.

On a yearly basis, in the first week of May, the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta hosts a pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes in France. The pilgrimage consists of 10-20 members of the Cuban association of the Order of Malta that lend their services at the shrine. The duration of the visit is usually 4-5 days; where close ties are usually made with another associations of the Order.

To the present we have not been able to take many Malades, as the transport and medical care is quite difficult to coordinate over such a long trip. This is not to say that Malades have not been taken; on the average maybe one or 2, who are able to care for themselves, or with the assistance of a family member, have traveled us.

Our pilgrims, volunteers and members, have worked in union with a Maltese Association, the Spanish Assembly, and the 3 American Associations. The work consists of assisting in the transport of the Malade, manning the baths, and lending assistance in the local hospitals. During this time members and volunteers also serve in support of the various religious services during the pilgrimage. It is during these visits and these associations, that very important equipment, medications, and support have been obtained for the operations of the Cuban association of the Order of Malta in the Caribbean. On various occasions, the Cuban Association has been asked to help co-ordinate the pilgrimage of several associations from the Central and South America area.

In 2008, when the Order of Malta celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Pilgrimages to Lourdes, which also coincided with the 150th year of the apparition of the Virgin Mary, the Cuban Association was chosen to coordinate the attendance of the Latin-American Associations to this pilgrimage, where more than 60 members and volunteers took part.