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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Lourdes Pilgrimage

connell school news

Lourdes Bisilica
The Basilica of the Rosary, in Lourdes, France

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (June 2014)

Each year, three undergraduate students from the Connell School of Nursing are selected to travel to Lourdes, France, made possible through generous donations.

Emma Baird ’14, Olivia Walsh ’15, and Sarah Webber ’14, made the pilgrimage to France with members of the Order of Malta.

Millions of people have visited the shrine where Our Lady of Lourdes appeared in the 1800's, to a peasant girl named Bernadette. The spring water from the grotto is believed to possess healing properties and is a sacred place in the Catholic Church.

In their own words below, Baird, Walsh, and Webber share their stories of inspiration and healing, and reflect on the memorable trip.

Olivia Walsh, Sarah Webber, and Emma Baird
Olivia Walsh 15, Sarah Webber '14, and Emma Baird '14 in Lourdes, France


Baird wrote, “I was in Lourdes for less than a week, but in that short time, I learned more about myself, my faith, and my role as a nurse than ever before in my life. I learned that being a present, active listener can be the most therapeutic and powerful treatment you have to offer. I learned to stop to shake my patient’s hand, especially when there is chaos all around you. I learned about the death and dying process, and that it is okay to cry when you lose a patient.”

Read Baird’s entire story.

Walsh wrote, “It is without question that the Boston College Connell School of Nursing has prepared me to be a great nurse. I have been taught how to assess and care for my patients, how to critically think and how to use my proper judgment in countless situations to make the best decision. However, it was in my week pilgrimage to Lourdes where I learned how to be an outstanding nurse. Through my experiences in Lourdes I developed compassion, the ability to listen, having confidence when facing the unknown, comfort with silence, and comfort with death.”

Read Walsh’s entire story.

Webber wrote, “This trip was a beautiful reminder to me of the community we can build between one another, if we are open to it. If we are able to change our hearts and orient ourselves towards others instead of away from them, we can accomplish incredible feats together. I saw this in the team and the way in which the nurses and doctors were able to care throughout the week. I am so thankful that I was able to participate in this trip. I am thankful for all of the amazing people I met, and for the timing of this trip.”

Read Webber’s entire story.

Connell School of Nursing students have had the opportunity to participate in this travel experience to Lourdes, since 2007.