France / London Pilgrimage 2018-05-14T12:44:43+00:00

 FRANCE / LONDON
PILGRIMAGE 2018

Day 10

After a full English breakfast, we set out for Aylesford located about two hours south of London in Kent.  Aylesford Priory was founded in 1242 when the first Carmelites arrived from the Holy Land.  Forced from their priory in 1538, they returned 400 years later in 1949.  This wonderful history is told in the artwork, buildings and grounds of Aylesford.  All of us agreed this visit to beautiful, peaceful Aylesford was the perfect ending to our pilgrimage…

Day 9

After breakfast, we took the Eurostar to London (about 2 hour ride on a fast train under the English Channel).  Arriving in London, we had a panoramic city tour by bus.  We then went to the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Simon Stock for Mass.  A community of Discalced Friars reside here and were very welcoming and some of the Community concelebrated Mass along with our Fr. Leopold.  After a short visit, we went to the hotel had dinner and settled for the night.  Tomorrow, on to Aylesford…

Day 8

After breakfast in Paris, we celebrated Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, hosting the tomb of St. Catherine Labore.  After Mass, we began our panoramic city tour of Paris including the place where the original Carmelite house was located and where Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection lived and worked.  We  continued to visit the sites of Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Eiffel Tower and concluded with a visit to Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) and Notre Dame.  This busy day ended with a delicious dinner at the hotel a good night’s rest – tomorrow on to London on the Eurostar Train under the English Channel…

Day 7

After breakfast we went to the Church of St. Michel where the relics  of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity are held and had Mass at the Crypt church there.  St. Elizabeth lived in the city center of Dijon not far from the Church she attended as a young girl. Her home overlooked the Carmel of the Carmelite Nuns which she entered at age 21.  The original Carmel had grown very large and had to be moved a few miles outside of the City of Dijon.  Today there are about 12 Nuns living there.

Day 6

We spent the day traveling from Nantes to Dijon.

Day 5

We started our day with a tour of the city of Nantes which has a rich historical history – especially for the Carmelites.  This city is also in the Brittany Region of France.  Anne of Brittany (1477-1514 – a picture of her statue is below) was the Duchess of Brittany and the only women to have been the Queen Consort twice.  Her influence on this region is great and she was known as a conscientious ruler and was highly regarded.

The first stop is the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany which served as the center of this historical region until 1941.  On to the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  It took 450 years to be completed.  Here is the tomb of Anne of Brittany’s parents.  In this Cathedral is a statue of Bl. Frances D’Amboise who brought the first Carmelite Nuns to France. (Picture of statue is below).
We then found the street still named for the Carmelites and where the original Monastery in Nantes stood.  After lunch we went to Mass at the current Carmelite Monastery of Titus Brandsma.  A little reunion for Fr. Leo as he was greeted by his former student and Brother Carmelite Fr. Francis Saliusta, O.Carm (a wonderful surprise for Fr. Leo).  We celebrated Mass in the Chapel of the Community there and the Mass was said for Bl. Frances D’Amboise.  This was a wonderful blessing for us pilgrim Carmelites to be in this most special historical place.
In this area John of St. Sampson also lived and worked during the Reform of Touraine.  In the Monastery is the reliquary which holds the skull of John of St. Sampson.
Back to the hotel and another wonderful French dinner.  Tomorrow on to Dijon and St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and can’t forget Dijon Mustard…

Day 4

We started the morning in Renne with Mass at the beautiful Carmel of Montigne.

 The monastery, founded in Rennes in 1857, was transferred in 1966 to Montigné to find a climate of silence and solitude.

In a green environment, 23 Carmelites offer to those who wish to participate in the liturgy and a modest welcome for a sharing of prayer and silence for a few days.
After Mass we met with the local guide for a tour of this Medieval City.  We walked down cobbled stone streets where many of houses are still standing built with the original wood.  This city is in the Brittany Section of France with a colorful history.
After lunch and browsing in shops we started out of Renne to find the original Carmelite House in which the Reform of Touraine began.  We found this historic house which is now apartments.  But the street name still states: Rue des Carmes.
We then left behind beautiful Rennes to travel to Nantes – arrived and had another wonderful French dinner.  Tomorrow we tour Nantes…..

Day 3

WE STARTED OUR DAY WITH MASS AT THE BASILICA OF ST. THERESE – THE RELIQUARY OF THE REMAINS OF HER PARENTS SAINTS LOUIE AND ZELIE MARTIN ARE HERE IN THE CRYPT CHURCH.

AFTER MASS WE TRAVELED BY BUS TO MONT SAINT MICHEL ABBEY WHOSE HISTORY IS THOUGHT TO DATE BACK TO 708 WHEN AUBERT, BISHOP OF AVRANCHES HAD A SANCTUARY BUILT ON MONT-TOMBE IN HONOR OF THE ARCHANGEL.  IN THE 10TH CENTURY THE BENEDICTINES SETTLED IN THE ABBEY, AND A VILLAGE GREW UP BELOW ITS WALLS.  TODAY JUST A FEW RELIGIOUS LIVE IN THE ABBEY.
WE ENDED THE DAY WITH A WONDERFUL DINNER AND A MUCH NEEDED REST IN THE CITY OF RENNES TO BEGIN OUR NEXT DAY WITH MASS AT THE CARMEL IN RENNES…..

Day 2

Today belonged to St. Therese.  After breakfast we walked to the Carmel St. Therese entered and lived.  The Carmelite monastery was founded in Lisieux in 1838 and St. Therese entered in 1888.  In 1923, the chapel was extended to receive her remains transferred from the cemetery at Carmel.  Fr. Leo celebrated Mass for us in the Chapel of the Carmel.  We then visited the Cathedral of St. Peter, which was the Martin family parish church.  This Cathedral was an important part of St. Therese’s early life.  It was here the family attended daily Mass and St. Therese prayed for her vocation.  We then visited the family home of St. Therese and walked through the rooms she lived in.  In the afternoon we visited the Basilica built in her honor after her Canonization and the remains of her parents are in this Basilica.  It took from 1929 until 1954 for this Basilica to be completed.
Tomorrow we leave for Mont-Saint Michele Abbey and then on to Rennes…..

Day 1

Arrived in Paris to rainy and cold weather.  Tour Guide met us and we departed on bus for Lisieux (Normandy Region – about 3 hours north of Paris). On the way we saw snow – welcome to France in springtime!!  We arrived in Lisieux, checked into our hotel and had a wonderful French dinner.  Tomorrow we will begin visiting the places of our Carmelite Saints…..