Double ten in Lourdes, France, praying for our nation and people
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

LOURDES, France — We have arrived from Barcelona, with its iconic Antoni Gaudi gothic masterpiece, the Holy Family Cathedral, the other day, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Pillar in Zaragoza yesterday. Both were awesome edifices from the genius. Now, we finally reached one of the climaxes of our religious pilgrimage, the Holy Sanctuary of our Lady of Lourdes. From here, we shall go to Paris and hopefully not be tempted in that city of worldly indulgence. Of course, if we happen to sin in Paris, we shall obtain our salvation when we get to see the Pope in Rome after our quick side trip to Switzerland. Today is a lucky day, a double ten day.

October 10 is very lucky according to Chinese fortune tellers. When I say Chinese I refer to the Taiwan Chinese. October 10, 1911 was the start of the Wuchang Uprising, which led to the end of the Qing Dynasty and the installation of the Republic of China. This nation, however, was short-lived in the mainland because of the Chinese Civil War which culminated in the victory of the communists and the fleeing of the nationalists to Taiwan in December 1945. Today, there is only one China recognized by the UN and that is the Peoples' Republic of China based in Beijing. But the Republic in Taiwan celebrates October 10 as its National Day.

And in today's ten-ten celebration, we feel very lucky and blessed to be in Lourdes, France's next top tourist destinations after Paris. Lourdes was once a small, remote, and sleepy town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It’s a part of the Occitanie region in southwest France. According to Wikipedia, prior to the mid-nineteenth century, Lourdes was only known for its majestic Chateau de Lourdes, a heavily fortified castle overlooking the village. It rose to prominence in 1858 after a series of marian apparitions witnessed by a 14-year-old peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous.

Pope John Paul II, now saint, visited the Shrine of the Lady of Lourdes in 1983 and in 2004. And in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a special indulgence for those who attended the 150th jubilee of the apparitions. Today, hundreds of thousands from all over the world come to Lourdes, making the once sleepy town a bustling tourist attraction, boosting France's tourism industry, and making Lourdes, a very important component of the whole nation's economic development. The visions of Bernadette, now a saint, like the visions of the shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, made their remote hinterlands into a major tourist destination.

To the Chinese, both Fatima and Lourdes are lucky sites, favored by destiny because of the purity of their peoples' hearts and their simple and unsophisticated lives. To us, the pilgrims, we are immensely blessed to have stepped on the holy grounds of Fatima and Lourdes. We thank the Lord for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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