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Visiting Lourdes

August 13, 1995

It would seem that while Bill Heavey was reporting on the crassness of the city of Lourdes ("Lourdes, Sacred and Profane," July 2) and its souvenir sellers, he was displaying plenty himself. While he may not be a believer, there are millions of people whose hope of a miracle is the only thing keeping them or their loved ones alive. How sophisticated of him to jump in line in front of handicapped people in their three-wheeled chairs. As for the souvenirs, would he rather the faithful chip away at the shrine itself for a memento? Trashy or not, these items serve several purposes, employment for the locals being just one of them.

I think it would be in bad taste to make fun of the thousands of Jews who pray at the Western Wall or the Muslims who make pilgrimages to Mecca. Many Christians consider Lourdes a very sacred place.

PEGGY SMERKAR

Los Angeles

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