Wisdom, gratitude, healing, fellowship: A military family’s journey to Lourdes

Believing is Living

Wisdom, gratitude, healing, fellowship: A military family’s journey to Lourdes

Lourdes, France, May 18, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA). – Every pilgrim into Lourdes has reasons and their own motives . With an additional elegance: a family reunion, the International Military Pilgrimage came for the Mayors.

Captain Mark E. Mayor and Captain Matthew N. Mayor are identical twins. Both have served for a decade in the U.S. Army. They currently live a country apart while both have been stationed together before . Mark is stationed at Germany, at USAG Wiesbaden. Matthew is stationed at Ft. Jackson, SC, but is still also a student at Northwestern University throughout the Army Advanced Civil Schooling program.

This past year, Malori, his wife and Mark, were both pilgrims about the Warriors. Malori, a registered nurse, volunteered on the health care team, assisted with helping wounded pilgrims, and played the violin at Mass throughout the weekend. All three of the Mayors made the trip.

Malori and mark told CNA that they are currently taking a different approach towards this year’s pilgrimage. This past yearthey stated they came with a “spiritual schedule,” and were praying for a specific intention. They stated they are coming to Lourdes with the attitude of gratitude, and will be more relaxed about the encounter.

“Coming with an agenda, however, was something I believe was an error, a year ago,” said Mark. He intends to seek wisdom, something that he believes he and his wife were granted last year, this season.

Throughout the 2018 pilgrimage, Malori and Mark were praying they’d conceive a child. This did not occur, but Malori believes she obtained the gift of courage to break the stigma and taboo of infertility. She used her website to inform her readers and to share stories.

“I believe that’s exactly what we needed, that was our miracle for last calendar year, even though we arrived with a schedule, God gave us the knowledge to seek the appropriate resources,” said Mark. “I feel that’s the important takeaway with this pilgrimage.”

Malori is currently expecting their first child, who is expected in January 2020.

“Before I became pregnant, however, I was sort of reflecting on last year’s encounter at Lourdes, also realizing that I need to come here using another stance, a different attitude; not’give me what I need, right now, within my deadline ,’ but to only come with gratitude,” she explained.

This correlation is “not always for infertility–that would be very, very hard to be thankful for that cross ,” but instead for the way she and her husband have grown through this adventure together.

Matthew told CNA that he had learned of these Warriors to Lourdes pilgrimage by his brother and sister-in-law, and was inspired to use for this season. He said that he’s seeking healing for mental and bodily wounds, and that he came having a open mind into Lourdes.

“My only expectation is to come here with the attitude of appreciation, to be thankful for all the blessings that I have in my own life at this time,” explained Matthew.  Matthew also clarified that he’s looking forward to fellowship with members of their military, as the transition from living on a base to residing within the civilian world can be obscure and lonely. The chance to interact with others is “a massive deal for me, to have this fellowship” he said.

Both Matthew and Mark have endured in their time in the army, and the two have been diagnosed with having post-traumatic stress. Mark also undergone a traumatic brain injury. They spoke about the significance of human interaction with members of the military after they have returned home, as they believe this is vital to preventing and curing mental illnesses that many soldiers encounter.

When a member of the army returns residence, Mark explainedthey are “separated by the tribe,” ” which could trigger depression and other mental wounds. The International Military Pilgrimage is a therapeutic experience for the pilgrims and is a means for people to “ get the tribe ”. And as the pilgrims are from other branches of the army and from different countries, the fact comforts Mark that they are all in Lourdes to worship God.

“We all celebrate one Catholic religion,” said Mark. “It’s just something I find it really humbling.”

Lourdes is famed for its bathrooms, which have generated 70 verified healings, and hundreds of remedies. The Mayors state they have been profoundly touched by their adventures taking a dip from the ice-cold water.

Malori said that it came with a sense of calmness and called her trip to the bathrooms “ life-changing, ”. Matthew agreed, saying it was an “diverse and highly effective experience. ”

“My goals were for continued healing in mind, body, and spirit, and also for the grace of continuing wisdom to fulfill and refill my nicely of fortitude,” explained Matthew. He said he was grateful and thanked God for being gift for him at that moment.  

All agreed that Lourdes is a special location, which the accession of the pilgrims attending the International Military Pilgrimage only increases town’s unique sense of holiness.

“Minus all the people coming here with illnesses and wheelchairs, perhaps this is a tiny bit of what such as Heaven is,” stated Malori. “Everyone’s so peaceful and these different countries coming together in the army pilgrimage–maybe this is like a taste of the.”


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