There is a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes at the foot of Graymoor’s hill, and I often recall my two visits to that wonderful shrine in France. I especially recall my second visit, more than 50 years ago, when I was part of a team that took over 30 patients by train, from London across the channel down through France to Our Blessed Mother’s Shrine.
The arduous journey took its toll on the patients, and we were all exhausted by the time we reached the shrine. But slowly, as we attended the Mass, the Blessing of the Sick, the candle-lighting procession, and taking our sick patients to be dipped in the waters of the shrine, we began to change. All of us felt a peace and a serenity we had not experienced since we left London.
The return trip was a totally different experience. There were many smiles, many thank-yous, and, as one of the doctors on the trip said, “None of our patients received a cure for their illness, but they were all healed,” including the staff.
And that was true. Healing is not curing. Not all of us need to be cured of something, but most of us need to be healed—healed of a past hurt, a past memory or relationship. We may seek out a person or place to help us in the healing process.
Such a place is Graymoor.
At the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center, thousands of people attend retreats throughout the year, and many leave spiritually renewed and refreshed. St. Christopher’s Inn helps thousands of men a year achieve and maintain recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. People drive up this mountain for many reasons—to attend prayer meetings, HIV/AIDS support groups, AA and NA meetings—or just to walk the grounds to enjoy/experience the special Spirit of Graymoor.
Many will say that this is where they find healing. I have noticed over the years that after their second or third visit, they do not refer to this place as Graymoor but rather “The Holy Mountain.”