Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This past Saturday, July 5th, a group originally from Cabanaconde, Peru had their annual pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The atmosphere was festive. The "costumes" native to their Peruvian land were gorgeous.

The day was comprised of Mass in the glass chapel, a procession into the grotto, and lunch/reception in the valley below the log cabin. I was told that the pilgrims also perform native folk dance, but I either missed that when I went to a seperate Mass or it happened after we left.

One of the groups of teenagers that were eating separately from the large gathering, told us that everyone there was originally from the Cabanaconde village of the Peruvian highlands. Everyone seemed to know and really like each other. It definitely had the feel of a family reunion. A family reunion of people who were very accepting of me, a total stranger, taking pictures of the festivities.

Just a couple side items:

If you are wondering about the last three pictures - I put them in to show you that flower petals were tossed before the statue of Our Lady as the procession moved from the glass chapel to the inner grotto. If you look back, there are some pictures of the woman tossing the petals, but I included the last three because I find something romantic to a pathway of petals. As if they mark a passage of love.
When I made mention of the beauty of the dresses, a woman told me that all of them were handmade in Peru. She further volunteered that each dress costs a minimum of $500 and that when someone has one made that they do so with an intermediary in Peru because the charge would be much more if it was known to be for someone in the states. She said that a dress can easily cost more than $1000, even without the price being inflated because the destination of a garment is the U.S.
As for the letters at the corners of the "chaise" bearing the statue of the Virgin Mary, they aren't a reference to Our Lady. Evidently they refer to the family who arranged for the floral processional.

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