Malade Application Process Opens for 2017 Lourdes Pilgrimage


The Malade application and medical evaluation form for the 2017 Lourdes Pilgrimage are now available through the Order’s website. You must log in to the Members Only section to access the forms under the “Federal Association Applications” heading.


Each year we receive around 74 applications. From this number we select approximately 48 Malades and their companions for the pilgrimage. The remaining applicants are placed in one of three categories; wait list, deferred, and those we are unable to take safely.


Our medical team carefully reviews each application and interviews each applicant either in person at our clinics in Baltimore or Houston, or by phone. In each case the applicant is interviewed by a physician who specializes in the applicant’s particular malady, and by our nurses. In late January the medical team of about 25 physicians and nurses gathers in Baltimore to review each application and make the selections for the pilgrimage.


The medical team looks first at whether we can safely take the applicant to Lourdes for a week. The next consideration is whether the applicant’s medical condition has progressed to the point where this may be the only opportunity. We try to balance the group to include children, young adults, adults and seniors, and to include our lords the poor.


After making the initial selection, we create a wait list because over the years we have learned that not everyone selected in January will still be healthy enough to travel in May. For example, last year many of the initially selected Malades withdrew from the pilgrimage and as a result, we exhausted the wait list.


The next category, the deferred list, is designed for applicants whose maladies are serious but could most likely wait until the next pilgrimage to join us. We never guarantee a deferred applicant a place in the next pilgrimage but we do give extra consideration to them if they apply again.


The final category is made up of applicants the medical team determines are too encumbered by their maladies to travel safely. One example would be an applicant who is a quadriplegic. We are not capable of providing the care that a quadriplegic needs on pilgrimage and as such their safety and well-being could be compromised.


Our medical director, Dr. Harry Johnson, devotes countless hours to help ensure that all our beloved Malades have a safe and edifying pilgrimage and return home safely.


Harry has offered to speak with Members who have questions about sponsoring a Malade. They may call him directly on his cell at 410-925-8255.


In my role as pilgrimage hospitaller I am responsible for being the first contact from the Lourdes Committee and thereafter the primary resource for our Malades as we work through the application process. I also invite any Member who might like to discuss the process, timeline, or any other aspect of the pilgrimage to call me on my cell at 240-687-3744.


As we begin the process of inviting prospective Malades to apply for the 2017 Lourdes Pilgrimage, we invite you to contemplate how our service to our beloved Malades in Lourdes helps us fulfil our ancient vows to serve our Lords the sick and the poor. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us; St. Bernadette, pray for us.