loader image

Beginning Lent 2024 with two great saints!

February 20, 2024

We, together with the British Province of the Carmelites went on pilgrimage in the footsteps of St Marie Eugenie and St Therese of Lisieux to Paris and Lisieux in France from Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th February 2024. It was a unique Lenten journey including talks, mass, fellowship, and lots of walking in a joyful spirit!

Adelle, one of the pilgrims writes: “Going on this Lenten pilgrimage was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. To be surrounded by such rich Church history, and Saints who lived incredible lives; and to do all this with such a beautiful group people was a real blessing. We began the pilgrimage in Paris, walking in the footsteps of Saint Marie Eugénie, foundress of the Religious of the Assumption. Visiting the Mother house, we were shown the little museum of St Marie Eugénie by Sr Véronique, the order’s archivist. We were able to pray by St Marie Eugenie’s grave, after which we had a beautiful mass celebrated by Father Ged, setting us the themes of friendship, love, and community, which followed us throughout the pilgrimage. Something that stuck with me was that the colours in the stained glass windows look more beautiful when they are surrounded by all the other colours. I think both St Thérèse and St Marie Eugénie would have approved this to apply to the Body of Christ. If each individual would be truly the self that God made them to be, we would form a healthy and flourishing Body, through our unity, in our uniqueness and commitment to serving God, wholly in the way that he made us.

To see so many significant places for the faith in such short time was just incredible, I can barely believe I was there – Notre-Dame, to Rue de Bac to the resting place of St Thérèse at the Carmel and the Basilica. Lisieux was truly a blessed experience, everyone who knows of St Thérèse must love her, and through her life and teachings must simply be able to run to the Lord and frolic under his wing like a little chick. Her faith seems paradoxical at first – such deep and intense suffering, yet such a desire for self-giving love with a smile and a most joyful heart. This sentiment marked the lives of both Saints we followed, and I have been deeply inspired by their faith, which knew God’s love and desired to love despite the waves of suffering and difficulty that came their way. I am so encouraged by the way they held firmly to the Lord and drew strength from him alone. 

In an unplanned turn of events, we ended up back in Paris for longer than expected on the final day – which to my great joy meant a visit to the Sacre-Coeur! To walk into such an immensely beautiful basilica, so grand, so beautiful and be greeted by Jesus himself present in the Blessed Sacrament is something beyond words. I found this so special; the Lord brought us to this quiet place of pilgrimage, a quietening of spirit, a time of prayer and fellowship and at the end he brought us up the mountain to himself – the ultimate gift of Love. Love himself poured out for us; our daily bread to go out into the world strengthened by his intoxicating love for us – with a mission to share this with the world as little missionaries of love.”

Another pilgrim, Stephanie says: “The whole experience was a very healing, enriching, and rewarding one. I am very grateful to the Religious of the Assumption and the Carmelites for the opportunity to meet such a fabulous group and explore new places of historical interest and religious significance.”