Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 8

From Lisieux we made a day trip, in the rain, to Mont Saint Michel—the third in a series of seven Churches or Shrines dedicated to the Archangel. Accordingly, these seven locations are lined up in a straight row stretching from the Ireland to Israel. And they are:

  1. Skellig Michael, an island of the coast of Ireland, settled by Celtic monks. Once again made famous by the Star Wars franchise.
  2. Saint Michael’s Mount, an island off the coast of Cornwall, England.
  3. Mont Saint Michel, where we were at y’day. It is now an island connected by a man-made causeway.
  4. Sacra di San Michele, an abbey built on top of Mount Pirchiriano, Italy.
  5. Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo sul Gargano, on top of another mountain in Italy.
  6. Monastery of the Taxiarchis, Symi Island, Greece.
  7. Finally, number 7 is Stella Maris Monastery, Mount Carmel, Israel. Views of the Abbey and from the Abbey.

Looking at England. The mud-bank stretches as far out as 13 km, when the tide is low. The sea returns to claim its sovereignty when night falls.

All over France, one sees the effects of the French Revolution—the destruction of religion. The decapitation of Christ’s head in the Pietà and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

A lovely view of a deserted cloister and a view diagonally across the garden of the cloister.

Two contrasting bas-relief in a side chapel, facing each other across the space. On one side, we have the Expulsion of Adam and Eve.

And on the other, Descensus Christi ad Inferos. The Harrowing of Hell. Christ descends into the hell to save souls.

Goodbye to Mont St Michel and an unwanted and unnecessary reminder, really... Are we in Japan?

Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 7

We left Paris in the rain for Rouen enroute to Lisjeux. Rouen is the site of St Jeanne d’Arc’s immolation. The façade of the Notre-Dame de Rouen is so wide that it was almost impossible to capture its breath using an iPhone...

The Cathedral suffered massive damage to its stained glass panels, during the big war. The more ancient one were saved by the citizens and the rest suffered the fate of the bombings. Some pictures inside and outside. Votive candles have been lit at every Church and Cathedral for the growth of our parish and the spiritual well-being of our parishioners.

Wall decoration of the same Cathedral, reminiscent of the Karma “ahem”...

Tudorian style of building? Here in the streets of Rouen, a reminder of the Camino de Santiago, the way of St James—coming from Canterbury, one passes through Rouen to Compostela. The scallop shell is right under the arch of the clock tower and above it, the ceiling, the symbol of the city—the Good Shepherd. Finally, a modern remembrance of the site of St Joan’s burning at the stake. The church is shaped like a “flame”.

We have arrived at Lisieux. The place where the some relics of St Therese are kept. At present, the reliquary is travelling around in Scotland. At her home, you see the sitting room as it is, the statue of Our Lady that smiled at her and finally, the hair of St Therese.

The imposing basilica of St Therese. A crypt dedicated to both Ss Louis and Zelie. We celebrated Mass in one of the side chapels. Rather modern and not worth taking a picture of. On two facing sides of an arch, the four evangelists. And finally a picture of the reliquary of both Louis and Zelie.

The interior of the Basilica. You can appreciate the size of it. The SHC in JB is probably 1/4 of this size. More candles burnt. The view of the altar from the entrance. The Cupola. The reliquary containing the right arm of St Therese. And finally the sanctuary with its imposing mosaic.

Belgium-France Pilgrimage - Day 6

As Henri IV supposedly declared upon abjuring his Calvinism to return to his Catholic faith—“Paris vaut bien une messe”—Paris is well worth is Mass, we started the day with dark clouds.

We wanted to emphasise the religious nature of this trip and gave 10 minutes for a photo shoot at the Eiffel Tour. This 10 minutes stretched as nature’s call (only one cubicle available for both men and women) it beyond 1 hour. It took close to an hour to arrive at the Tower. With breakfast and beverages behind, it did not take long for nature to come a-knocking. That cut short the time for the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur.

Sacred Coeur was crowded. We arrived when Mass was going on. It was touch and go.

St Catherine Laboure

The highlight of the day was the Shrine to the Miraculous Medal. Here is a humble daughter of the Church. She received the apparition but she was no known as the seer until just before her death. Her spiritual director told her not to speak about it but himself got the medal struck...

Incorrupt Heart of St Vincent de Paul and the wax effigy that contains the bone relics of St Louise de Marillac

The same chapel that housed the incorrupt body of St Catherine Laboure also has the incorrupt heart of St Vincent de Paul and the wax effigy that contains the bone relics of St Louise de Marillac.

We celebrated Mass not 10 minutes away from Rue du Bac at the Chapel of St Vincent de Paul. Originally this was the chapel where we were supposed to celebrate Mass but they made a mistake with regard to timing. Instead, we were given a conference hall. We adjourned for dinner where we met yet another compatriot. Fr Francis Teoh, familiar to so many in our parish, was winding up a Fatima and Lourdes pilgrimage with faithful from Singapore and at least one soul from CIC...