|Our Lady of Lourdes shrine at Marianhill, Durban|
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Pilgrimage to Lady of Ngome, the Lourdes of Africa, Part 1
Five years ago I visited the grotto and sanctuary of Lourdes
in the Alps of France. My direct personal experience of the sacred Presence
of the Lady, irrevocably changed my understanding of life and set me on a new path.
I returned and felt compelled to devote all my work and actions to Her.
I created a sacred Mary Garden Under Her guidance I founded
the Temple of Mary and She imparted the two year initiation program to me.
I felt called to create shrines in the ancient sacred altar tradition and this led
me to creating the Mysteries of Mary Tarot Deck.
Since then I have made four more pilgrimages to the grotto of Lourdes.
Last year I did not travel to Lourdes and towards the end of the year
I had more and more dreams of Our Lady of Lourdes. I felt a deep
calling to commune with Her in Her sacred place where She manifested.
But I could not see how I would be able to visit Lourdes till much later
the following year. Still the dreams persisted and became more sensory.
Years ago I had heard about the apparitions of Our Lady of Ngome.
I did add it to my bucket list and then it sorted moved to the background
of life. At the time of the dreams I started doing research on Ngome
only to discover that it is called the Lourdes of Africa!
Ngome is an ancient sacred site where seven streams meet to form a
spring of which the water has healing properties. Mary as Lady of Ngome
had appeared ten times to a local Benedictine nun and the image of the Lady
of Ngome, Tabernacle of the Most High, cured many miraculously.
The apparitions were kept secret for years after the death of Sr Reinolde -
but I will share the full story in my next post.
Once I had read up on Ngome I decided that I am being called
to visit Our Lady of Ngome and immerse myself in Her sacred waters
and energy. Three of us decided to go on a pilgrimage to Ngome in
the new year. We did not have any specific dates in mind and decided
to buy the best airfare tickets available which happened to be
9 to 14 February. Only when I made the booking for the guesthouse
near Ngome did I realise the incredible synchronicity : we had planned
to spend the Saturday in Ngome. As it turned out it was
Saturday 11 February, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes!!
We took a local flight to Durban, spend the day and two nights, then drove five
hours to Ngome - a story on its own as we dodged cows, goats
and potholes. As part of our pilgrimage we visited the Lady of Lourdes
shrines at Marianhill Monastery near Durban. The monastery is
outside Durban in the green rolling hills of Natal.
As we climbed the steps toward the shrine we were enveloped
in the most intense fragrance of thick sweet honey. At first we did
not really pay attention as we were in the tropical and lush
Natal gardens and we had seen many tropical flowering trees
everywhere. After a few minutes, as the pungent fragrance
persisted, unmoving, unlike the fragrance of flowers carried
on the wind, we all came to a standstill and exclaimed
'what is that smell?'. We all had previously been to Lourdes
and Lisieux (the shrine of St Terese) where we had experienced
the incredible honey-rose fragrance. However, there we were
surrounded by roses and a rose garden, although we all did agree
that we had never smelled roses with such a potent fragrance!
We lit some candles and spent some time at the shrine and as we
descended the stairs, we could not resist the temptation to look for
the source of the fragrance. There were no flowers nearby, only
creepers and ferns and trees. We walked up and down and the
fragrance did not move, nor become any fainter.
We realised that we were once again immersed in the
honeyed fragrance of Our Lady of Lourdes.
This is a very real phenomenon found at places where the Lady
has either appeared or where She is revered. It also appears
during healing sessions with the healing energy and Presence
of Our Lady or during times of deep meditation and bliss.
with love and blessings