Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler: Lourdes

About This Episode

More than five million pilgrims from around the world visit the Catholic shrine of Lourdes in Southwest France every year to drink and bathe in the waters of a spring that Catholics believe has miraculous powers. Host Bruce Feiler embeds with a group of active duty and retired US military, wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq and other American wars, as they travel to this shrine in search of healing.

The wounded warriors, some skeptics, many with faith or at least an open mind, are joining other military and their families from 35 different nations on an International Military Pilgrimage that’s now in its 55th year. While only half the American soldiers are Catholic, all hope that Lourdes can provide spiritual and emotional healing beyond the treatment they’ve already received for their physical wounds and disabilities – especially for PTSD. Whether sharing stories of war and recovery or finding healing in the camaraderie of fellow warriors, the pilgrimage allows the veterans to open up to others in a place whose primary focus is to ease suffering.

Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler is an unprecedented journey to the world’s most meaningful landscapes and rigorous religious pilgrimages. The series presents a comprehensive picture of the practice of pilgrimage in its varied expressions around the globe, over thousands of years.