600km Walking Pilgrimage through Spain

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on September 2 2008

From the moment I discovered an ancient pilgrimage path in Spain in June last year, the attraction of walking hundreds of kilometres towards an assured destination grew on me daily. My eagerness to go on a month-long journey on foot across the steep slopes, lush valleys and forests of the Pyrenees, and through countless small towns and villages, was part of a subconscious quest to find depth and meaning in my life. At the age of 33, I was approaching – prematurely, perhaps – what seemed to be a mid-life crisis.

Straits Times Life! Article,Denise Chng Lisan,Camino de Santiago,Camino Frances

Letter from Quebec: Preserving Heritage

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on November 8 2008

'TRAVEL is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living,' wrote Miriam Beard. Life in Quebec is now my teacher, pointing out my knowledge gaps and honing my ideas of living - be it language, culture, life-skills, or the environment.

Denise Chng Lisan

Day 9: Bath in Lourdes

Posted by Denise CHNG Lisan On Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I have never waited 5 hours to have a bath in my life. But I did. And I sat in a queue waiting to get in. The queue and the wait separates the determined and the faithful. Many drop out as the wait get unbearable and uncertain. Those who have come to Lourdes have told me that this is something I must do. I belong to the determined camp, though not sure what I was in for.

In the queue, there was this lady who was patient and joyful. In the five hours, she sang intermittently to let everyone relax. She said "let us sing for everyone!" Later in the wait, I smiled at her, as I was grateful for her beautiful voice and music. She came to me and touched me and said some kind words.

Later, in the bath, as I was waiting for my turn, I saw her emerged from the bath crying from her experience. It was then that I realised the intensity of the experience.

The spring water of Lourdes is so important because it represents the source of life, blood and water that flows from Christ. The beginning of the spring was a miracle that marked the beginning of Lourdes. In 1858, Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette, a 14yr old village sheperd girl. Mary asked her to drink the water from the ground. The water has sprung forth a spring and its water has cured many, which are now recorded as miracles.

By the wait of the bath, it is evident that those who come, come in the faith and hope that they too will be healed by the Lourdes water. I too carried the faith and hope that I will be healed - body, mind and soul.

It was a special experience for me. The logistics of managing a few hundred people (maybe thousands?) a day through this process is amazing. There were at least 5 friendly volunteers who helped me undress and dipped me into the bath. Not only was I dipped in, I dunked my head in too, as I was greedy. The whole bath was done in 5 minutes, or less.

When I see people coming out of the bath, they somehow look different, as if they are carrying a world of importance in them. I came out of the bath feeling a new sense of spirit too. It was like I am cleansed, in the most complete sense. I put my hand over my heart as I walked out, keeping whatever had been given to me inside of me. I felt I had to pray to give thanks after that. Everything starts anew; It was like baptism.

2 Response to 'Day 9: Bath in Lourdes'

  1. Anonymous Said,'> 28 June 2009 at 06:55

    a friend went to lourdes and told me that you take your clothes off completely, then go through the water and when you come out you are not wet, but completely dried. some people find this hard to believe, can you e-mail me your experience? Yours in Christ


  2. Anonymous Said,'> 3 November 2009 at 20:58

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