Courage on Tap:
A Lourdes Memoir
"…the soul appreciates these words: 'Come all who are sick, I will restore your health."
Photo: Castle from terrace of Notre Dame de Lourdes, Lourdes, Pyrenees, France ca. 1890-1900 © Library of Congress
In Courage on Tap: A Lourdes Memoir, Carla Knorowski shares the intimate story of her experiences and explorations in Lourdes, the City of Miracles, located deep in the heart of French Occitan country.
A fleeting visit to the Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes in 1982, spurred on by her mother, Mary, leads Carla on a search for the meaning of miracles, hope and courage. Born into Catholicism, Carla puts her faith to the test as she enters the 19th, 20th and 21st century worlds of Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year old girl whose apparitional experiences over a six-month period in 1858 ultimately led to her
Revealing, funny and relatable, Courage on Tap challenges each of us to drink from
the cup of life; to persevere and overcome obstacles both big and small that we may
not only come to live more vibrantly and purposefully, but embrace our individual destinies no matter how constricted or confined.
Carla has written a deeply felt description of her experience caring for the sick at a special hospital at part of the domain. This is where the real meaning of religion can be found.
Bill Kurtis, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist of National Public Radio's “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!"
Listen to his beautiful and compelling introduction:
Through our friendship, I have learned two things about Carla: She is one who “looks up” with a vibrant, hopeful perspective and she embraces the miracles in her life. This book tells the story of Carla, her mother Mary, and how over time, Lourdes was woven into their lives, bringing them even closer together in the most beautiful of ways. It is a miraculous journey of reflection, hope and love; one, I know you will enjoy.
Michele L. Sullivan, author of Looking Up: How a Different Perspective Turns Obstacles into Advantages and retired director of Corporate Social Innovation and President of the Caterpillar Foundation.
“Sister Marie opened the French-English primer. Obviously, this could serve the dual purpose of teaching me some French on the way to teaching her some English. But there was a problem. Neither of us spoke the others’ native tongue so we would have to teach and learn by way of a second language we had in common: German. The ability to speak the Teutonic tongue, was something neither of us did very well. Still, we launched into the lesson which to anyone within earshot, sounded more like a poorly translated surreal comedy—a Franz Kafka meets Andre Breton meets Woody Allen farce which would make “Springtime for Hitler” seem dramatic in comparison. There we were poorly pronouncing and gesticulating. Pidgin German, meeting pidgin French, meeting pidgin English resulting in the creation of new languages such as Frenglish, Gerglish, Grench and Gerenchlish. Undeterred, we muddled through wherein at the end of the lesson, I think Sister had mastered the words, hello, dog and milk. This would be helpful, I had reasoned, should she come across a lonely, thirsty dog with a calcium deficiency. Still, the lesson proved wildly entertaining and we laughed far more than we learned. After 35 minutes, we both admitted defeat and happily surrendered to our regularly scheduled duties. With a promise we would resume the next day, I left both happy and confused.”
-Exerpt from Courage on Tap
Cultural explorer Carla Knorowski in Lourdes 1982.