The great Scottish Pilgrimage to Lourdes, which took place in July, had a special interest to the people of St Mary’s, Forebank, as the organiser and secretary of that huge undertaking was the popular Parish Priest – Canon Lavelle. There was an added interest in the fact that many from St Mary’s joined in the Pilgrimage.
On the return of the pilgrims much enthusiasm was aroused by a partial cure effected in the case of Mrs Graham, 77 Hilltown. Her own story, as published in the “Catholic Herald” at the time, was that about seven years ago she was stricken with neuritis, and a year later the disease seemed to take on a chronic form. It became worse, till she was more or less deprived of the use of her limbs. Finally, she had to take to bed, where she remained for fully a year, till she was taken out to proceed to Lourdes. She took the baths six times, and, although she felt no immediate effect for good, she had a feeling that health and strength were being restored to her. When she arrived at Dundee her friends noticed the great change for the better, and her general state of weakness before she left, contrasted strongly with her vivacity and cheerfulness on her return, indicating that something had happened in the interval. Mrs Graham’s hopes for complete restoration are strong. She described her experience as a wonderful journey to a more wonderful place.
Not a few St Joseph’s parishioners took part in the July pilgrimage to Lourdes, too. Among the pilgrims was Mrs McLeish, 8 Daniel Street, who had been very ill for close on two years with nervous breakdown affecting the spine and threatening paralysis. She came home from Lourdes, one of the many miracles associated with that famous faith-healing centre.
A local doctor considered her case so hopeless that he would not give her a certificate to travel, and suggested that there was no cure for her on this side of the grave. However, a permit was obtained, and Mrs McLeish set out full of hope and faith. She had to be assisted all the way on the journey.
A representative of the “Catholic Herald” called on her, and she rose from her seat to receive him.
“I could not have done this before I went away,” she said, and in order to further demonstrate her fast growing strength and vitality, she walked across the floor of the house.
“I went to Lourdes,” she said, “with a brave heart, knowing that I would be cured. I was in the baths six times, and knew no change at the time. Nor did I feel any effects for the better on the way home. When I landed at the Tay Bridge Station my friends who had been so kind in helping me all day came to assist me up the steep stairs. I said, ‘Leave me alone, I feel as if I can go up myself.’ And I did. That was the first indication of anything in the way of a cure. I began to speak to my friends in a way I never thought possible, and now every day I am growing stronger than ever. I can get out and about now, can climb the stairs, and go for my own messages.”
Mrs McLeish’s husband was killed in action during the last week of the war, in November 1918. She has four children, the eldest aged 13 and the youngest 5 years.