The Portal November 2017 - Page 12

THE P RTAL November 2017 Page 12 La Belle France Jackie Ottaway and Ronald Crane have been to France on Pilgrimage to St Thérèse of Lisieux L a Belle France is a wonderful country. She has produced so many inspirational saints, none more so than St Thérèse of Lisieux. She has long been a favourite, so when the opportunity arose to visit her shrine, basilica and town, we jumped at the chance. Mgr Keith Newton led the Pilgrimage. He was accompanied by Fr David Stafford. A quick flight from Stansted took us to Normandy and then a coach to Lisieux where we stayed for the whole pilgrimage. We were fortunate to be in Lisieux for the celebrations of the saint’s feast day - Mass in the Basilica, processions and all. We were doubly fortunate to be asked to provide readers for these occasions, so we really were involved in the best sense of the word. A trip to Bayeux enabled us to view the tapestry and celebrate Mass in the cathedral; on another day we went to Mont St Michel and visited the ruins of Hambye Abbey. We spent a lovely day in Alençon visiting the home of the Martin family. Sr Anastasia was our splendid guide, and some of our party even managed to visit the lace museum as well. The English could not visit Normandy without going to Caen and the tomb of William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda. They each have their own Abbey at opposite ends the city. On our last day, we went to the local Calvados factory! Gill carried on, “The pilgrimage is very positive, with everyone pulling together. There is lots of laughter and giggles. St Thérèse’s day was wonderful. St Thérèse made it for us. Our taxi did not come, but she arranged that we arrived at the Basilica in time. “The Bayeux tapestry was a vibrancy of colour, and Alençon was lovely. The Martin family house was amazing. I think I know about St Thérèse and her family now, so in that sense the pilgrimage has been a happy experience”. St Thérèse of Lisieux Each day we were privileged to have Mass in one of the splendid churches of Normandy. The Carmel in Lisieux, the Abbey at Caen, Bayeux Cathedral, the parish church at Mont St Michael and St Peter’s, Alençon. Spiritually, it was a wonderful pilgrimage. Our dear friend Dr Gill James was one of our pilgrims. She is a retired academic who lives in North London. Gill joined the Ordinariate in 2013 and sits on the Editorial Board of T he P ortal . This was her third Portal/Ordinariate pilgrimage. “It is an exploration for me as I know hardly anything about St Thérèse, except of course, the ‘little things’. Franziska and Alan Norman are Ordinariate members from Cambridge. Both arrived in the Ordinariate via the CofE. Franziska comes from Berlin and they met there. In the same street as the Anglican Church there was an Order of nuns who had perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. It was this that brought Alan to the Catholic faith. He had entered the CofE through a liberal Catholic door but found it impossible to reconcile liberalism with catholicism. Franziska was in line to be a CofE priest, but for various reasons, this did not work out. They joined the Ordinariate, despite there being no group in Cambridge. They attend Mass at Our