Ampleforth Hospitalité of Our Lady of Lourdes

28 September 2020

Joining as an Assisted Pilgrim

Lourdes is a great experience, enjoyed by millions each year. l go there to help my faith get stronger and stronger, and it's working!

Steve Burke
Regular Assisted Pilgrim

The reasons for travelling to Lourdes as an assisted pilgrim are varied, but all those who travel with us find the week to be an uplifting experience that enhances their faith in a relaxing sociable atmosphere. Our Pilgrimage is made up of a diverse group of people – from those in their final years of school to the old hands who have been for three decades or more. We are also joined by monks from Ampleforth Abbey and other parish priests. We take people with a range of conditions, including many who are seriously ill and disabled. If your condition requires a specialist carer this can also be accommodated.

The majority of the Pilgrimage travels from Stansted Airport, and assisted pilgrims are expected to make their own arrangements to join us there. When you arrive at the airport the Pilgrimage will take over caring for you. Over the decades we've become very efficient at helping assisted pilgrims through the airports at both ends, and during the transfer to the Saint Frai in Lourdes. We can provide wheelchairs in the airport, and if needed we can ensure you're individually looked after throughout the journey.

Once in the Saint-Frai you will be cared for by the Pilgrimage helpers, with the medical staff on hand 24 hours a day. The helpers are there to assist you with all your personal needs – this may be getting up in the morning, at meal times, or just keeping you company through the day. The Ampleforth Pilgrimage is based in the Saint-Frai – a modern building that enjoys a fantastic location in the middle of Lourdes. It is close to the shrine, as well as a number of decent cafés! All meals are provided in the dining-room at the Saint-Frai, and we can accommodate any specific dietary needs.

We attend Mass daily, as well as other services and pilgrimage activities. Assisted pilgrims will be given whatever help is required in getting to these events, whether you need an arm to hold on to, or in a voiture – the traditional wheelchairs of Lourdes. However mobility shouldn't be a concern for you throughout the Pilgrimage!

If you have any questions or are interested in travelling with the pilgrimage as an assisted pilgrim please get in touch with Annie Bowen-Wright on 01449 676967 or


Adam has been to Lourdes with Ampleforth for several years and loves going! He very much enjoys the level of companionship he gets from the other pilgrims and the sense of belonging that the pilgrimage as a whole gives him. As a family, we see the effects of just how special the week in Lourdes is for Adam, and how much happiness it brings him.

This week is in many ways the highlight of his year. Without the presence of the dedicated doctors and nurses, and the support provided by the volunteers, it would be doubtful if Adam would be able to go abroad at all. He feels very safe and secure with the Ampleforth pilgrimage, which for him is very important. We join the pilgrimage as a family and we simply would not be able to spend this time away with Adam each year if it were not for the Ampleforth pilgrimage.

For Adam, it is probably the simple things at Lourdes which are the most meaningful - things likes mealtimes (where he is supported by a dedicated volunteer), the interaction with the young helpers and the high level of care and attention given to him throughout the week, such as when assisting him to bed. These little things are often easily overlooked, but are an integral part of Adam's enjoyment of the week.

Adam can't wait to go back to Lourdes and to see all of his friends again!

Dave Cartlidge
Brother of Adam, a regular Assisted Pilgrim


Lourdes, a name that has been calling me for years, but somehow the road was always blocked. Then finally I was flying over the channel to France with a group of pilgrims. From the start at Stansted Airport there was a sense of joy and anticipation. We were enfolded in a loving atmosphere where every possible help was offered and given before we even asked, all done with love and laughter.

The ceremonies and visits all centred around Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady, and leaving such a wonderful feeling of peace, comfort and a deepening of our faith, which has remained with me since my return home. Thank you, thank you for making my pilgrimage possible.

Beth Davie
First time Assisted Pilgrim in 2010