It is great to be back home after an inspiring, exhausting and wonderful pilgrimage to France.
Here’s where we went and what we did:
- Hit the ground running with a tour of Paris by bus and Mass at the Basilica of Sacre Coeur
- Mass at the Shrine of St Catherine Laboure, visit to the church of St Vincent de Paul and Saint Chapelle. Afternoon at Musee d’Orsay, evening boat ride on the Seine
- Visit to Vezelay then tour and Mass at the shrine of St Bernadette in Nevers
- Visit and Mass at the Cathedral of St Lazare in Autun. Visit and tour at Paray le Monial and prayers at shrines of St Margaret Mary Alacoque and St Claude de la Columbiere
- Visit and tour of Abbey of St Benoit sur Loire and veneration of the relics of St Benedict. Visit the ninth c. church of St Germiny des Pres. Mass and tour of Chartres Cathedral.
- Visit and tour of Mont St Michel. Mass at church of St Peter on the Mountain
- Visit to Coutances Cathedral, tour of Abbaye des Dames and Abbaye des Hommes and the Castle at Caen. Mass at the Abbey des Hommes
- Tour of the Normandy Beaches, Mass at Bayeux Cathedral and viewing the Bayeux tapestry
- A full day at Lisieux. Mass in the crypt of the basilica, tour of Les Buissonets–Therese’s childhood home, visit to the museum and cathedral.
- A full day at Rouen. Visit to the cathedral, tour of the city and the site of Joan of Arc’s martyrdom. Then an unplanned visit to the church of St Etiennte du Rouvray where Fr Jacques Hamel was martyred in 2016
I planned to blog every day on the trip, but things are hectic with lots of people to assist, details of travel and irregular and undependable WiFi.
Having the chance to reflect on the pilgrimage, I am so convinced of the value of these trips. American Catholics get a real chance to plunge into not only the lives of the saints, but the history, the context and background of their times. As we traveled through the French countryside our guide gave lectures on the history of France while I gave conferences each day based on my book St Benedict and St Therese — The Little Rule and the Little Way. A pilgrimage puts it all into context.
I said at the beginning of our pilgrimage tour, “All this Catholic stuff is connected” and when you go on a pilgrimage tour you see through the art, architecture, countryside and even the food and drink–how God’s hand of providence has worked through the history of Europe. You see how he has been working his purpose out not only in the good, but also in the conflicts, the sin, the troubles and trials of the church and her saints.
I’ll be writing more about our trip here on the blog over the next few days, and if you’d like to see pictures of from our tour jump over to follow me on Instagram where I tried to post three or four choice pics each day.
I also encourage you to check out my pilgrimage tour for next year. I’ll be leading a fantastic pilgrimage cruise including Rome and then sailing to the Holy Land and the cities of St Paul in Turkey and Greece. Go here for more information.