Today has been a slower day on our pilgrim journey – a chance to recharge and rest up a bit a little more than half-way through our trip. Being the traditional day of the Epiphany, it is also a bit of a day of rest for us. Which meant that we got a later start, ended earlier than normal, and only visited three small towns in the area. It really was a slower pace for us. The three small towns we visited were all quaint and picturesque French towns – and each with it’s own significance. Here’s a brief overview:
- Combourg – for our purposes in exploring the French Catholic roots of Indiana, this is the hometown of the second Bishop of Vincennes, Bishop Celestine de la Hailandiere. There’s also a large and fairly well-known chateau in Combourg where the French writer Chateaubriand lived.
- Saint-Pern – the Motherhouse of the Little Sisters of the Poor is right outside this village. St. Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the order, is buried in the crypt. We are blessed to have a community of Little Sisters of the Poor in Indianapolis, where they operate St. Augustine Home for the Aged.
- Montfort-sur-Meu – the hometown of St. Louis de Montfort, author of True Devotion to Mary and other spiritual and theological works, who is best known for his approach to consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Tonight, we will celebrate Mass for the Memorial of St. Andre Bessette, a brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross whose simple faith and devotion to St. Joseph changes countless lives in Montreal. We also remember in prayer Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSsR, who is being installed today as the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. Tomorrow, we will visit the home of Bishop Simon Brute, the visit Bishop of Vincennes, who was born and raised in Rennes, France. I am starting to piece together the story of the French Catholic pioneers of Indiana, what led them to our country, and what we can learn from their origins and spirituality. But we have more to explore before putting those thoughts together – so stay tuned!