In February, the Order of Malta, a Catholic lay religious order, collected more than 500 prayer petitions during the World Day of the Sick Mass in Los Angeles. The requests were recently taken to Lourdes, France, where they were placed in a special petition box located inside the grotto.
The trip to France, which began April 26 and lasted one week, honored the location where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette 18 times. In 1858, Mary asked the saint to dig in the dirt to wash, and a spring of water appeared, creating the site of 69 confirmed miracles to date.
Almost 350 pilgrims from the Knights and Dames of the Western Association of the Order of Malta, along with clergy, a medical team and other volunteers, made the trip from California to Lourdes in order to accompany more than 50 sick pilgrims (from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and other areas of California) to pray for healing.
The trip is part of an international pilgrimage, where approximately 25,000 people meet in the small town for a week of prayer and celebration.