What do I miss about England? Well, when I lived on the Isle of Wight in England I would go to Mont St Michel on retreat. I’d take the night ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and then hitchhike along the coast to the Abbey.
What a fantastic place! At the time there was a small religious community living in the old monastic buildings, and if you were on retreat you would stay right up in the old Abbot’s lodgings right in the ancient monastery. All stone walled rooms, tiny narrow stone circular staircases, all stairs and dark corners and a hidden oratory high in the top story of the old monastery. During the day the Abbey church would be thronged with tourists, then at noon they closed it down for Mass, and at the end of the day you went into the church for Vespers and were allowed to have free access to the cloister and old refectory. Then silent supper with the community–a book being read in French, and simple, wholesome French food too good to be true.
While there you were simply and literally half way to heaven. Built up in the sky, with nothing but the sea around you, the views were spectacular, and you were cut off from this earth and this place and this time. You were suddenly back in the Middle Ages with nothing modern to distract, and nothing to do but pray. The sea in the distance spoke of the vast and timeless Lord, and the sky winging with birds was blue with the promise of eternity.
If anyplace is thronged with angels it is Mont St Michel.