Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012

The day started cloudy, but the sun eventually came through the clouds as we arrived at Pointe de l'Arcouest which had spectacular coastal views. As we came over a hill and saw the water, everyone gasped! We had a quick stop where everyone looked for shells or visited a local shop.

Collecting shells at Pointe de l'Arcouest
Pointe de l'Arcouest
We traveled to the port of Paimpol for lunch and it was one of the most quaint towns we have encountered so far on the trip. We passed the Alum Tour bus in this town and we all waved from our respective buses. Many stopped for crepes (for which they are known!) and the servings were quite large! Most shops were closed for lunch (unlike the United States where workers may not get even an hour for lunch, here they appear to take 2 hours and shut down for lunch), but some found a Boulanger to buy 'chocolat' while others found souvenirs elsewhere.

crepe with 'bacon', cheese and egg

From Paimpol, we stopped at the Plage du Moulin, a beach near Etables-Sur-Mer (Saint Mother Guerin's birthplace), where Saint Mother Guerin is thought to have walked often. This was a favorite spot and many wished we could stay much longer. Thousands of seashells in great condition were all over the beach, the view was beautiful, and many reflected on the fact that in her writing, Saint Mother Guerin was grieved to leave her beautiful France and arrive in Indiana in the beginning. We now feel we have a better understanding of why leaving this place was so difficult for her. 

Add caption

Plage du Moulin where Mother Guerin walked

Such an amazing day...we returned to Etables-Sur-Mer and joined the Alum Tour participants, walking to the birthplace/house site of Saint Mother Guerin in the afternoon. The street was so quaint and beautiful, yet simple. We arrived at the gates and as we walked through, there was a palpable feeling among the group. It was a strong sense of being "on the other side" of the stories we all have heard about Saint Mother Guerin since our own arrival to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. There is a structure in place at the site of the house where she once lived, with nearby stable remains. Inside the structure are pictures and various objects. Many were full of emotion, particularly the students, as they stood in a circle holding hands/arms and sang "The Ring Song". The Sisters of Providence in attendance, along with many of us, felt very moved at hearing this song in this place at that moment. It was as if time and place did not exist and we were able to all connect to the legacy which brought us all together. 

Michael Boswell and students inside structure at Mother Guerin's house site

Singing the Ring Song inside the structure
Emotions running high following Ring Song
stable ruins 
Following the visit to Saint Mother Guerin's house site, everyone prepared for the Mass (and concert which followed) at Church of Saint John the Baptist in Etables-Sur-Mer. The Bishop from the district arrived to perform the service, which we have come to understand, is rare. He took time during the service to speak in both English and French, conveying to everyone that in our presence there, along with the Sisters of Providence and President Dottie King, we all come together to show the love of God. Immediately after the Mass in which the choir sang, a concert with the Madrigals took place. It was a wonderful place to sing and it held a large audience of appreciative individuals. Following the singing of "La Providence", the audience stood and applauded for some time. Their faces as they listened to the french words are difficult to describe. The Bishop and other church officials, as well as President Dottie King and Sisters of Providence, congratulated the choir and pictures were taken by those in the congregation and local news (for which Michael Boswell was interviewed). A reception followed at a nearby location with singing, laughing, talking, food and drink. The entire bus ride back was full of energy and excitement from a well-received performance and the emotion of the day.
Church of Saint John the Baptist (mass and concert location) in Etables-Sur-Mer

Tomorrow we head to the Loire Valley, often called the "Garden of France" and will visit Chateau d'Usse, often referred to as the original Sleeping Beauty castle.


  1. I am so thankful that you are doing this blog! I LOVE following along your journey, seeing the pictures and hearing how well received the girls' performances have been! This is a ONCE in a lifetime trip! Enjoy and I'll be looking forward to the next post!
    Julie Neyer

  2. This was an extraordinarily special day!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with those of us "back home":)