How to say "sign" in French + 8 things you can't do in Lourdes, France


In southwest France: the commune of Lourdes (located in the Hautes-Pyrénees)

Bonjour! It is great to be home after vacation, never mind that one of us brought back sinusitis as a souvenir... but that isn't why today's edition is titled "guérir"... Read on in the following column for more...

guérir (geh-reer) verb

    : to cure, to make better; to heal

[from the Frankish "warjan" (to protect)]

French definition*: "délivrer d'un mal physique ou mental" (to deliver from a physical or mental illness)

*French definition from "Le Petit Larousse Illustre"

Audio file: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronouce today's verb and its French definition: Download guerir.mp3 . Download guerir.wav

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

We hadn't set out as pilgrims, but became so by circumstance. For our annual vacances estivales,* this family of four was headed west to a campground along the Atlantic coast of France when signs to the sacred town Lourdes began to appear--like the Virgin Mary herself--amidst fields of corn, and roadsides teaming with wild lilacs.

"We HAVE to stop! Lourdes--c'est à ne pas manquer*!" I said to my husband, quickly briefing him on the nineteenth-century French nun* who is said to have seen the Virgin Mary there in a grotto. Since the famous apparition, pilgrims have flocked to the southern French town from all four "coins du monde"* in search of mental or physical healing.

Jean-Marc hesitated over my request, reminding me of our campsite's check-in policy and the hurry that we were in to comply with it. But when he went on to add that, well, that didn't leave a lot of time to visit the holy town.... I nodded my head excitedly, only half-heeding his warning about a limited time frame. What I didn't tell my husband was that time was not a problem -- for a spiritual awakening can happen in the blink of an eye....

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...more on Friday. To comment on today's word or edition, click this link. If you happen to know today's verb "to cure" in another language (Spanish, Russian, Italian, German, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese... Tagalog?...), please add it to the comments box. Mille mercis!:


les vacances (fpl) estivales = summer vacation; à ne pas manquer = a must see; nineteenth-century French nun = Bernadette Soubirous; coins du monde = corners of the world

Provendi Revolving Soaps (you'll find these in the public restrooms at Lourdes!): "The practical and very neat Provendi revolving soap fixtures have adorned public school washrooms throughout France for years. Now they're turning up in the most chic places. Lightly scented, vegetable-based 300g soaps snap (new style) or bolt (original) on to the chrome-plated bracket rod and rotate with the motion of the hands."

French film: In "The Song of Bernadette" Jennifer Jones plays the legendary French peasant who claimed to have dialogues with the Virgin Mary at a Lourdes grotto in 1858.

Book: "The Song of Bernadette"."Franz Werfel, an Austrian Jew, wrote this historical novel about a Catholic saint to commemorate his narrow escape from the Nazis via Lourdes." --Audiofile.

Children's book: Saint Bernadette Soubirous: Light in the Grotto

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language ...

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety