My name is Joanne Carey. In 2011 I took my very first pilgrimage to Lourdes. Because of that first experience, I longed to do the very service I witnessed during that first trip. There is something profound hidden deep within the rock of Massabielle, something that I hadn’t encountered anywhere else. A feeling so deep it touched the very core of who I am. That experience has never left me nor has the longing to return there year after year.
So return I did.
And now, each year, I return to that same rock, the very rock where Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in February of 1858, and the very rock where Blessed Mother told the world that she is “the Immaculate Conception.”
In June of 2016, after five years of formation, it was made official. I became a permanent volunteer in Lourdes, making a public commitment to become a member of the historical Hospitalite Notre Dame de Lourdes, the first volunteer organization in existence since the apparitions of 1858. While the ceremony was local, the commitment is universal, serving all people everywhere. The name of my service is called Service Saint Jean Baptiste (in English: St. John the Baptist Service), service in the baths of Lourdes.
Many people throughout the world speak of Lourdes in a historical context, while many others may have no context at all, having never even heard of Lourdes, St. Bernadette, Blessed Mother or even God. So the thought of travelling to this beautiful Pyrenean village nestled in the middle of the mountains seems a fantasy, but I have witnessed the very reality that Lourdes is for everyone.
While I feel extraordinaryly blessed to be a volunteer in the baths of Massabielle and to be able to make this journey year after year, I am keenly aware that many people may never get that same opportunity to go to Lourdes.
The Lourdes Experience hopes to fill the longing that so many people carry within their heart; the desire to go before Blessed Mother in the very spot she appeared and bathe in those same waters that so many people continue to do year after to year. Lourdes Experience in a very small way brings the enormity of the graces of Lourdes to your community, wherever you are and opens up the light and love of the Gospel message that St. Bernadette encountered in that small niche in the Grotto of Massabielle.
February 11, 1858 changed that small Pyrenean town and has since changed the world forever.
Welcome to Lourdes.
I received a BA degree as a double major in French and Political Science, from Rutgers College earning departmental honors in French. I also hold a business certificate for International Commerce from the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
Continuing my education in dance and dance education in the masters program at New York University as well as in theatre in The American Academy of Dramatic arts in NYC led me to earn my teacher certification from American Ballet Theater in the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 and I am a ABT® Certified Teacher.
For the past 20 years, I have been the owner and artistic director of a dance studio; creating dance programs and syllabi not only within the studio setting but in nursery schools, daycare centers, afterschool programs, YMCA’s as well as for Special Needs Dance classes.