Today was such a great day!
We started it off with Mass at the Carmelite convent where St. Therese lived a huge part of her holy life. Before Mass started, we were asked if one of us wanted to read the 1st reading, which would have been absolutely amazing….except it was in French…never had we felt so sad at the misfortune of not speaking the language! So sad!! Anyway, we celebrated Mass and then had the opportunity to go and pray in front of the spot under which St. Therese’s body was lain. Such a blessing!
After visiting the convent, we stopped for lunch at a delicious creperie, Les Bles d’or Creps. The waiter was a very sweet older man who explained the menu to us and made it very easy for us to pick our meal. Kathleen ordered a crepe with egg, cheese, endive, creme, and ham. Ivana ordered a crepe with goat and gruyere cheese with a salad on top. As the waiter put it, the food was “very nice” – it was so good!
After lunch, we went to the Basilica of St. Therese, where we prayed in front of her relic, as well as in front of the relics of her two parents who are also saints.
We then visited her house and her parish church as a child. It was absolutely wonderful and such a grace-filled experience to walk the steps that this very holy and blessed saint walked and to get a little glimpse into her personal life. We walked into the rooms where she and her sisters played as children. We saw the room where she was healed by the smile of Our Lady, and a replica of the statue which Mary used as the instrument of her healing. We also saw her real hair – it was absolutely beautiful!
In the evening, we were determined to learn French! We downloaded an app called Duolingo and diligently started studying. It’s such a great app, so we’re expecting to come home knowing some French. 😉
We embarked on our long train ride to Normandy to visit the small town of Lisieux. Here we will spend time visiting the various places that are associated with St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
We left our Paris hostel at a quite reasonable time compared to our departure from Dublin, took the metro to the train station, and then waited semi-patiently for our train to arrive. The people at the train station were very kind to us, especially considering how silly our questions must have seemed to them!
Finally, we were on our way! Zipping out of the city and into the lovely French countryside. After six hours, which seemed much shorter than we were expecting them to be, we arrived in Lisieux. We were greeted by some good news and some bad news. Good news: there was a public bus system; bad news: no one seemed to know how it worked… Being the diligent little travelers that we are, we had walking directions from the train station to our hotel. Little did we know it was thirty minutes up hill…. Tired and a little frustrated after being laughed at and honked at on our way, we finally made it to the hotel. We were greeted by a very friendly woman and discovered that our room had its very own bathroom! After sharing a bathroom with eight other girls in Dublin and then our whole floor in Paris, we were presently surprised.
Our next order of business was to figure out the bus system, which, in the end wasn’t as difficult as we had expected. We hopped on the next bus and got off in the center of town. We got some lunch/dinner at a little shop called La Mie Caline. We also picked up some groceries for a snack later and dinner the next day. We got these two kinds of cheeto type chips that were swiss cheese and goat cheese flavored, a wonderful discovery!
That night we made our plans for the next day and watched some French tv. Needless to say, we are very excited to explore beloved St. Therese’s town and share our experience with you here!