top of page

Editorial N° 354

Alessandro de Franciscis

Président du Bureau des Constatations Médicales Président de l'Association Médicale Internationale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes (AMIL)


Dear members, subscribers and readers,

With the arrival of spring, as I was finishing this Bulletin for the winter of 2021/22, we learned in Lourdes, with great joy, that Pope Francis had appointed the new bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes: Mgr. Jean-Marc Micas, born on 17 June 1963 in Montélimar (Drôme). In 1983, he obtained a degree in civil and climatic engineering from the University of Toulouse. From 1985 to 1990, he attended the Saint-Cyprien seminary in Toulouse, where he obtained a Master's degree in Theology. He was ordained a priest on 10 March 1991 for the Archdiocese of Toulouse and has been a priest of the Society of Saint Sulpice since 6 June 1999. He has held numerous pastoral positions, including that of superior of the Saint-Cyprien Regional Seminary (Toulouse 2007-2013). Since 2013, he has been Provincial Superior of France, of the Society of Saint Sulpice. To Mgr. Micas - who will receive Episcopal Ordination on 29 May 2022 in Lourdes and who will take possession of the Diocese during his installation at the Cathedral of Tarbes the following day - I offer the affectionate welcome of the whole great family of AMIL - Association Médicale Internationale de Lourdes and of the colleagues members of the CMIL - Comité Médical International de Lourdes, and the promise of our prayers and our faithful collaboration.

To Mgr. Antoine Hérouard, the new Archbishop of Dijon, I express my gratitude for the service he has generously rendered here in Lourdes, as Pontifical Delegate of the Sanctuary, with great attention to medical and health matters. Mgr. Hérouard has chaired the annual meetings of CMIL in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and has spoken personally at some of our meetings both here in Lourdes and by video conference during the difficult months of the pandemic. With our gratitude, we also accompany him with our prayers.

I have the honour of reproducing, in this issue, two Letters from the Archbishop of Milan, Mgr. Mario Delpini, which he wrote to doctors before Covid-19 (October 2019) and then to all health professionals (June 2021). He is the bishop of one of the largest dioceses in the world and I was struck - and moved - by this humane and pastoral care of the successor of St Ambrose towards us, health professionals. Thank you Archbishop Delpini!

Our colleague Linda Satterlee was for many years the medical director of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers pilgrimages. In a moving letter dated 20 March 2022, she tells me the reasons for ending her service whilst renewing her friendship with Lourdes, with her pilgrimage and with the AMIL family. We are pleased to publish a summary of her speech at the wonderful Zoom meeting we held on 12 February 2022 with over 300 doctors from all over the world in attendance. Dr Satterlee reported on her October 2021 pilgrimage with two critically ill patients from Texas and New Jersey with very advanced ALS, tracheostomized and intubated. I thank Linda for what she has given at Lourdes and will continue to give.

Our indefatigable colleague Dr Monique Bouges Gladin called many pilgrimage doctors participating in a WhatsApp chat in 2021 and got some interesting information that is summarized in this issue.

My colleague and friend, Dr Kieran Moriarty, an influential member of CMIL, and my colleague, Dr Jennifer Klimiuk, published an original article in September 2021 entitled The Lourdes Pilgrimage and the Impact on Pilgrim Quality of Life (Journal of Religion and Health (2021) 60:3775-3787 - I owe both authors much gratitude for initiating an exciting new line of research. The direct impact of a pilgrimage to Lourdes on the quality of life (QOL) of pilgrims who defined themselves as a “sick pilgrim” has never been measured before. According to the authors, the pilgrimage to Lourdes had a statistically significant positive impact on the quality of life of “sick pilgrims” in the period immediately following the pilgrimage, but this was not confirmed two months after the pilgrimage. The majority of pilgrims identified benefits from the holistic, spiritual and community aspects of the pilgrimage experience. The authors have prepared a summary of their publication for our Bulletin. I thank them!

Our colleague Dr Denis Planche published an article in 2019 which attracted great interest (“Draw me a soul” - Bull Assoc Med Int Lourdes, June 2019; 92 (344): 11-17). It is with pleasure that I publish one of his new articles - Job and Bioethics - , which was sent to me in July 2021 and which the author presents as “a short reflection on bioethics inspired by the evolution of today's biomedical situation and by the absolute necessity of a principle of moral conduct to help each carer in his or her daily working life, but also each human being in relation with another human being”.

My colleague Dr Jean-Michel Paris wrote to us following the publication in the last issue of my memories of Sr Emmanuel Maiffret. I am happy to publish his text, which adds new touches of colour to the still very lively memory of Sr Emmanuel!

Our Carnet is always dense. In these recent months I have lost, among others, five colleagues, members of AMIL, who were very attached to Lourdes and to me personally. A great master of my generation of pediatricians, Professor Gian Paolo Salvioli, emeritus of the University of Bologna, and Professor Giuseppe Romeo Vagliasindi, emeritus of pediatric surgery of the University of Messina. Both have lived long and fruitful lives. Present every year and very active in Lourdes, Vincenzo Ronca from Salerno and Angela Sorano from Caserta who passed pramaturely. Much younger also, we lost Massimiliano Marrocco Trischitta, a vascular surgeon in Milan, “a doctor, but always a brancardier”, as he called a moving article for our Bulletin No. 328, in October 2014.

Not only do I remember you in my prayers, dear colleagues, but I declare my certainty in the resurrection of the dead, and so I tell you “See you again” !

For those you who have come to know and appreciate the Charter for Health Care Workers, published by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers in 1994, you may be interested to know that the New Charter for Health Care Workers, published in Rome in 2016 in Italian (Libreria Editrice Vaticana), is now also available translated in French (Pierre Téqui, F), English (The National Catholic Bioethics Center, USA), Spanish (Editorial Sal Terræ, E), Portuguese (Documentos da igreja 52), Polish (https://duszpasterstwochorych. pl/nowa-karta-pracownikow-sluzby-zdrowia/) and also in Dutch (Uitgeverij Betsaida 's-Hertogenbosch, NL).

At the AMIL General Assembly in February, we recorded a reduction in the payment of our annual dues compared to the years before Covid-19. I ask all of you, our members and subscribers, to please support us generously.

I look forward to seeing you in Lourdes in 2022 to respond to the invitation of Our Lady to St Bernadette to “Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come in procession” (Theme for the year 2022), and possibly to pray together on Tuesday and Saturday afternoons and invoke the gift of peace in Europe and in the world!

With affection,

Sandro de Franciscis


bottom of page