No special skills are required to be on stage, just a willingness to work, and a desire to enter
into the 'spirit of Lourdes'.It is also not necessary to speak French, though a basic knowledge
of that or any other language is of course useful.

Any languages that a stagier feels confident about speaking can be indicated on their badge
by flags.
During the first four years, stagiaires must take part in the 'Formation' (a type of Stage training, formerly known as ‘école’) twice in the week.
This provides both practical training, and an overview of the spirituality of Lourdes.

The Formation classes are taught in English, when an English speaking formateur is present (which is usually the case). There are no exams and plenty of opportunity for interaction and discussion. Usual topics for discussion include: our attitudes to the sick; the symbolism of the grotto and its water; a tour of the places where Bernadette lived; the history of the domain; Christian approaches to suffering; etc.

The first Stage is known as the 'anneé d’accueil’ (reception year). After this volunteers
become a 'hospitalier auxiliaire’, for years 2, 3 and 4.
After the reception year and three stages of formation Christians can apply in their 4th year to make an engagement into the Hospitalité. The following year (5th), after approval from the Council, volunteers are presented with the silver medal on blue ribbon. This is a sign that the volunteer has made a promise to commit to the service of the sick, specifically by coming on stage regularly.
This medal is a dedication, not a decoration, and a sign that the volunteer is at the service of anyone who may visit Lourdes.
This isn’t the end of the service, but the beginning of a deeper commitment.
Once a volunteer has become a ‘titulaire’ member of the HNDL, they are asked to pay an
annual 15€ ‘cotisation’ to help cover administrative costs and pay for the Lettre de l’Hospitalité which members receive three times a year.

The new member in the UK may also become a member of the Association of British Lourdes Pilgrimage Hospitalités (ABLPH) of the HNDL, and be invited to an annual
reunion in the winter.