The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Looking for a miracle? Don’t use your GPS

Modern technology can work wonders — but it can also lead you astray.

From the Telegraph:

A small, but rising portion of the six million pilgrims who flock to the world’s third most visited Catholic shrine in Lourdes are showing up at another, rather less well-known village called Lourde.


Their sin was to have misspelled the name of their destination on their satellite navigational system.

New arrivals to the tiny hamlet in the Pyrenean foothills south of Toulouse are understandably confused, as not only does the village contain no Marian shrine, nor does it offer a single hotel or shop. Indeed, finding a baguette in the near vicinity would be nothing short of a miracle.

Lourde’s 94 residents are now getting used to redirecting bemused drivers, who have strayed 57 miles west of their intended destination, as they crawl forlornly through the village in search of the holy site’s familiar trinket shops and stretcher bearers.

“They are all surprised to see that Lourde[s] is so small; they ask you about the underground caves,” one village councillor told French radio today.


“One day, a hearse showed up,” Robert Amblard, village mayor, said. “The driver stopped in front of the map. I advised him to have a look in the 65 [Haute-Pyrenees department] instead.”

Check out more at the link.

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posted August 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

you just can’t beat a map!

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posted August 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I say nothing beats innovation. If Lourde is blessed with pilgrims, then heck; build a grotto and a waterfall, BVM statues, trinket shops, hotels, etc. It can serve as a form of auxiliary pilgrim facilitator type of town. Maybe even have a type of “off Broadway” re-enactment with St. Bernadette and the BVM (and skeptical bishops/clerics/family members etc). Give em what they want, seeing as how they’re already there 😉

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The Spiritual Arc

posted August 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm

This just proves that technology is not always as reliable as we would like to think! It would appear that with all of the misguided visitors that the town would capitalize on the tourism in some way.

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