Thursday, June 23, 2011

Went for a Hike Today

Today, I hiked not to just the grotto of St. Mary Magdelene, but all the way to the summit of the crest of the cliffs.

There is a group of pilgrims from the city of Langres in the northeast of France who are on pilgrimage here at La Sainte-Baume. They have a local parish priest and - get this - the diocesan director of pilgrimages. Here is an innovation that we can benefit from in the US.

They about 40 people travelling by bus to this region. I met some of folks last night and they spoke with the priest, Pere Phillipe and the pilgrimage director and they invited me to join them on the hike. Again, divine providence. I was intending to hike this trail alone today. But hiking this kind of trail with others is usually more prudent.

Here is the group sitting on the steps in front of the grotto. Frere Thomas, whose book, the Novena to St. Mary Magdelene I translated for you months ago, is teaching the group.
After the brief instruction by Frere Thomas, we went into the grotto for the celebration of Mass. Following we hiked up the additional 300 meters to the crest of the cliffs.
Yesterday I included a photo of the small chapel built at the summit. Today I have pictures looking down from that height onto the plain and the hotellerie.

From the summit looking down into the valley. The hotellerie is next to the green field beyond the woods at the upper center of the picture.
The 4th century chapel, St. Pilon, on the summit of the crest of La Sainte-Baume.

The chapel of St. Pilon perched on the cliff.

The trail along the summit.
The cliffs of La Sainte-Baume
The small group of the pilrims from Langres who continued past the grotto to climb to St. Pilon.
And just to remind you of where these last photos were taken, this is the cliff from the Hotellerie. The chapel of St. Pilon is the tiny square structure at the top of the cliff. The grotto is the small cluster of buildings just above the treeline at the base of the cliffs.
Tomorrow, after Mass and lunch at the Hotellerie, I will return to Marseille for two nights. I came to really enjoy Marseille so I want to spend another two nights there. On Sunday I will travel back to Paris.

I talked to Frere Thomas after compline tonight. I told him that I was thinking of taking the train for the day from Paris to Chartres, the last major cathedral yet to visit. He went on for about half-hour about the neccessity of visiting that cathedral and the surrounding town. Tuesday, I will take the train to Chartres and visit one of the greatest cathedrals of all.

Morning prayer at 7:30am. It is now 11:30pm.
Bonne nuit.