Gruta de la Virgen de Lourdes and a flood of tears

Buildings and Architecture 43 12

When I set off this morning to visit a church that was built in 1916, I had no idea that I would be overcome by emotions and burst out in tears. Let me start from the beginning.

Today was a beautiful winters morning. The sun was shining and I quickly took off my jacket and enjoyed the brisk walk. The church that I was about to visit is more or less 3 kilometres from the centre of Alta Gracia. I was in good spirits and thoroughly enjoyed my walk. A man was selling candles at the entrance and I didn´t buy any because I was not sure what to do with it.

I immediately noticed a lot of elderly people walking towards me. I greeted them with a friendly “Buen dia” and kept on walking wondering where this church was. I was walking through a big and beautiful park. The serenity was touchable and it put me in an even better mood. I was anxious to get to the church because I got the distinct impression that the church service had just ended.

A beautiful rock gate awaited me and I quickly checked if I could see a time table. Yes I was right. There was a mass and I missed it. I felt slightly disappointed but carried on walking anyway.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

I reached a place carved out of rock and stone and in the middle was a statue of a woman. Flowers were laying at her feet. Three women were sitting in the front rows and I couldn´t see their faces. A man was in the front praying. I sat down for a while and didn´t want to disturb anyone.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

As I got up I saw a wall to my left. It was very interesting with what looked like plaques all over it. What was this? I had absolutely no idea. I walked up the stairs and started to look around. All the plaques had a short message and in this message they were thanking “The Virgen of Lourdes“. I am not Catholic and I don´t know much about the Saints and Virgins. I put my camera down and started to read what was written on the plaques.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

A photo of a baby was mounted to one and another had a small wooden house next to it. Suddenly I remembered a story that friends told me. They were childless for many years and she went to a sacred place and prayed for a miracle. 2 months later she was pregnant! I remembered then that it must have been the “Virgen of Lourdes”.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

It happened so quickly and the next moment my eyes were welling up with tears and I was sobbing. No sound, just tears running down my cheek. I was overwhelmed by all the miracles that I have seen in front of me. How often do we see that? It showed me that miracles still happen. I prayed for one as well.

I walked up the stairs to find the church. It is a beautiful church built out of rock and it is a replica of the original Lourdes Grotto in the French Pyrenees. I still had no idea what it all meant but that is what the brochure said.

Gruta de la Virgin de Lourdes,Alta Gracia,Church in Alta Gracia,Virgen de Lourdes,Virgen de Lourdes en Alta Gracia

The beautiful old church at the Gruta de la Virgin de Lourdes.

The church was closed but I could peek inside through the security gate. The church is in desperate need of maintenance and paint were peeling on the walls. Nevertheless it was beautiful.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

Inside the church

As I made my way down I saw a pair of soccer shoes on the stairs.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

I walked back to the wall of recognition and saw a huge chandelier of candles standing in one corner. Now I understood why I had to buy a candle. I felt guilty. I lingered for another couple of minutes and then walked back to the entrance. My feet felt heavy. I was still in the moment.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

There is a beautiful restaurant just outside the entrance and I stopped to have a cup of coffee. It was time to sit down.I couldn´t help to think that I came here today to see an old church and instead I have witnessed miracles. I was moved beyond words.

La Gruta de la Virgin in Alta Gracia

Date visited: 14 July 2011
Where: Alta Gracia, Cordoba, Argentina 

About the author / 

Nelieta Mishchenko

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. Nelmitravel.com is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.

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43 Comments

  1. Roy Durham July 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm - 

    oh, how i wish i could have been there with you just to fell the stones under my feet. to see the wall and our lady of Lourdes. you are truly bless to have been there. thank you for the taste of it god bless

  2. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 16, 2011 at 12:53 am - 

    Hi Roy, this was such an amazing experience. I have never seen anything like it. I couldn´t stop the tears. I did feel blessed..indeed!

  3. BlogNostics July 16, 2011 at 4:54 am - 

    You were able to uncover hidden treasures inside the church you've visited and that's how it goes with all the travels you've done. You had more light after every experience. Very beautiful sharing Nelieta!

  4. melissa July 16, 2011 at 9:33 am - 

    I'm so glad you had that visit Nelieta. I spent so much time with it as if I went there myself. Hmmm…It looks so beautiful inside and outside. You have entered into the mystery and the ambience. It's so sacred. Even I was moved…Oh and miracles do await us… I love your docility and openness…:*

  5. Anna July 16, 2011 at 11:46 am - 

    What an amazing experience that must have been! This was truly a moving post and am so glad I stopped by :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. JIM July 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm - 

    Thank you for sharing this very personal moment with us. I remember as a child hearing about Lourdes it was such a moving story and you have brought those feeling back with your post. Thank YouI stumbled and Google+1Jim

  7. Bongo July 17, 2011 at 1:39 am - 

    Ohhhh what a beautiful adventure you just took me on…I'm not catholic or believe in any religion but this took me beyond and brought tears…thank you…As always….XOXOXOXO

  8. fantacy in practicality July 17, 2011 at 3:53 am - 

    you lighted up the candles with your thoughts. you took me through with your journey. i am in prayers. i feel connected.

  9. lakwatsera de primera July 17, 2011 at 4:01 am - 

    We have many places in the Philippines flocked by pilgrims because of stories of miracles. It's quite amazing to witness the devotion and faith of the people. Sometime you wonder if the place was really blessed or it was just their intense faith that brought the miracles.

  10. Debra July 17, 2011 at 4:21 am - 

    I still believe in miracles. This is a walk that will never leave your memory. You were meant to be there dear Nelieta.

  11. Alpana Jaiswal July 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm - 

    beautiful..there is nothing that moves me more than churches..and this one is dream come true..

  12. Jan July 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm - 

    beautiful memories, thank you for sharing, we are all blessed.

  13. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm - 

    Hi BlogNostics, I think you are right. Each time I travel I get exposed to different things. It is bound to touch the soul :)

  14. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:41 pm - 

    Hi Melissa, glad you enjoyed this unusual adventure with me. There are time in my posts when I focus less on the facts and history and concentrate more an my feelings. This post was one of them. Thank you for coming along.

  15. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm - 

    Hi Anna, thank you for stopping by. I was touched on such a deep level and this experience will always stay with me. Thank you for the visit.

  16. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:43 pm - 

    Hi Jim, thank you for the Stumble and Google +. I have never heard of her before or the story behind it. All I knew about the name was that Modaonna named her daughter Lourdes :) This was such a rare experience and it touched me on such a deep level.Thank you for stopping by :)

  17. Anonymous July 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm - 

    Nice Post. This post helped me in my school assignment. Thanks Alot

  18. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:52 pm - 

    Hi Bonnie,some times things move us beyond words..this was one of those moments for me. Thank you for the visit and a big hug as always! xxx

  19. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm - 

    HI Sancheeta, I felt so guilt for not buying a candle. Thank you for giving me the comfort with your kind words :)

  20. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm - 

    Hi Claire personally I believe it is their intense faith. I believe with faith all things are possible. I have never witnessed anything like this before and it really touched me on such a deep level. I will never be able to forget the emotions and feelings I had there :)

  21. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm - 

    Hi Debra, you know I never thought about it that way but now that you have mentioned it I am sure you are right. Things happen for a reason and I had to be there. Maybe I will not get a miracle but I got a clear message never to lose hope…that is what I will do :)

  22. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm - 

    Hi Anonymous, it is my pleasure and I am glad I could help. If you need help with another project please shout and I will see what I can do :)

  23. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm - 

    Hi Alpana, I love churches too. When I travel I always look for the churches and then I sit at the back for a while and go quiet. Those are precious moments :)

  24. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm - 

    Hi Jan, thank you and I am sending blessings as well with this comment :)

  25. Rimly July 18, 2011 at 6:08 am - 

    What a beautiful experience Nelieta. I have heard about the lady of Lourdes and read a book called Miracle. There are places here to in India where if you have faith, miracles do become a reality.

  26. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm - 

    Hi Rimly, so great to hear that! It was something very foreign to me but now I understand so much better :)

  27. Roy Durham July 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm - 

    Nelieta, the next time you go to a place that burns candle like that , if did by one or could not buy one lite one that has gone out add your pray to those who have prayed and you will be blessed god bless

  28. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm - 

    Hi Roy, thank you for telling me. I honestly felt so guilty and now I know why the man at the gate looked at me so strangely when I didn´t buy one. Thanks, I will definitely remember that for next time :) God bless.

  29. tbaoo July 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm - 

    i was about to make a glib comment about shoes, tides or even ballet ? they looked like ballet shoes. but i followed sj's advice and read behind the photo story , i'm glad i did .. ;(

  30. sheril benedict July 23, 2011 at 1:12 am - 

    Wow ..a great post ,I m a catholic …i just wanna say one thing .you mentioned "Even miracles take a little time" its really true …. i have experienced this a lot .One has to believe god and sure he/her ll get

  31. Mari Sterling Wilbur July 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm - 

    A beautiful post and beautiful photos! I've always wanted to visit this location. I especially love your photo of the interior.

  32. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm - 

    Hi Alan, yes the photo could be misleading. So glad you visited the story behind the photo :)Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend :)

  33. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm - 

    Hi Sheril, yes miracles do exist. I don´t believe for one second it is limited to one religion only. God answers prayers and the moment when we least expect it a miracle happens :)

  34. Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita July 23, 2011 at 8:52 pm - 

    Mari, thank you for the visit! This is an amazing place to visit and I think I will always remember it for as long as I live. Interesting photo you liked of the interior…it was a normal shot, without any technicalities :)

  35. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - 

    Hi Debra, you know I never thought about it that way but now that you have mentioned it I am sure you are right. Things happen for a reason and I had to be there. Maybe I will not get a miracle but I got a clear message never to lose hope…that is what I will do :)

  36. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - 

    Hi Bonnie,some times things move us beyond words..this was one of those moments for me. Thank you for the visit and a big hug as always! xxx

  37. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - 

    Hi Jim, thank you for the Stumble and Google +. I have never heard of her before or the story behind it. All I knew about the name was that Modaonna named her daughter Lourdes :) This was such a rare experience and it touched me on such a deep level.Thank you for stopping by :)

  38. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - 

    Hi Anna, thank you for stopping by. I was touched on such a deep level and this experience will always stay with me. Thank you for the visit.

  39. Nelieta (Hostel Tinktinkie) July 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm - 

    Hi Melissa, glad you enjoyed this unusual adventure with me. There are time in my posts when I focus less on the facts and history and concentrate more an my feelings. This post was one of them. Thank you for coming along.

  40. Tui Cameron September 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm - 

    One of the things I love about travel is when I am unexpectedly moved by the places I encounter. Travel teaches us as much about ourselves as it does about the places we visit.Thanks for participating in the Traveler's Show & Tell blog carnival over at Mental Mosaic: Even Home is a Travel Destination. I hope to see you there again. :)~Tui

  41. Nelieta Mishchenko September 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm - 

    Hi Tui, thank you for your lovely comment. What you are saying about travelling is so true and I have learnt and discovered many things over the years. Not just about places, people and cultures but most importantly about myself. It was fun participating in this event and I am looking forward to do so again :)Nelieta

  42. maria teresa maya December 11, 2013 at 4:03 am - 

    yo tengo un gran respeto a la virgen, y mas cuando yo tuve una vision que vi su rostro frente al mio y su rostro hera tan bello y sus facciones tan delicadas y de sus ojos corrian lagrimas. fue para mi algo tan especial que me haya sucedido a mi y nunca lo olvidare y siempre estara en mi corazon y se que ella me cuida a mi y a mis hijas. esto lo he compartido con mis hijas y pocas personas porque se que fue algo muy personal pero no se ahora que entre en esta informacion quise compartirlo con ustedes.

    • Nelieta Mishchenko December 12, 2013 at 10:30 am - 

      Hola. Maria! Gracias por el comentario. Si, es un lugar increible y tan especial! Un abrazo. Nelieta.

Meet the Author

Nelieta Mishchenko

Hostel Owner, Blogger, Photographer, Explorer

Nelieta Mishchenko is the face and voice behind Nelmitravel.com and is currently based in Argentina.Nelieta is always looking for a new adventure and is trying to travel as cost effective as possible.

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