Travelling in Europe without knowing the language and being unaware of a few other things

My brother was in Italy and wanted to get to a railway station.  He communicated with some of the locals by making train sounds (Thomas the tank!)   It did the trick. They pointed in the direction of the local railway station.

I was also in Europe and into my third week. It was my first chance there to use the internet. At a hotel in Lourdes, France, I was given a computer to use for the purpose.  It was in the foyer and the lighting was very poor. I started to touch type and it came out all wrong.  This was my introduction to the French keyboard! I never knew that the French keyboard was laid out differently to the one I use.  My first internet session is Europe was a dismal one.

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The Miraculous Medal Chapel in Paris, France

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The grotto of Our Lady at Lourdes, France

Our Lady of Lourdes Pray for us.

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The chapel in the convent at Nevers, France

St Bernadette’s incorrupt body is on display in this chapel.

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St Bernadette looks really serene as though she is having a good sleep.

Happy feastday St Anthony (The custom of St Anthony’s bread)

True son of St Francis that he was St Anthony had a great love for the poor and even now he still continues to help them by encouraging the devotion known as St Anthony’s bread. This is a very old devotion too and it had its origin in Padua as the result of another miracle.
A little child whose parents lived near the Basilica, which was then being built fell into a vessel of water and drowned. The poor mother was heart broken but great as was her grief she had a greater confidence in the power of St Anthony. She begged him to help and give her back her babe promising that if her prayers were heard she would give the child’s weight in grain to the poor. Towards midnight while the bereaved mother was still praying the child rose up as if from sleep. After this miracle the practice developed of promising alms to the poor in return for favours received through the intercession of the saint. Today this practice is widespread and in most of our churches boxes are provided to receive alms for the poor from those who have been assisted by this great friend of the poor.
Great impetus was given to this devotion by a simple incident that occurred towards the end of the last century. A pious French girl Louise Bouffier who owned a small linen store in Toulon, found difficulty, one morning, in opening the door of her shop. After repeated efforts she sent for a locksmith, whose assortment of keys proved useless. Deciding that the lock must be forced, the man departed to get tools for the purpose. While he was away, Louise prayed earnestly to St. Anthony, promising him bread for his poor if the door was opened without injury to the lock. When the locksmith returned she asked him to try his keys once more, telling him of her promise to the Saint. The man did as she asked, and with the first key he tried, opened the door without any difficulty.

This incident greatly strengthened Louise Bouffier’s confidence in St. Anthony.  She increased her devotion to him, always promising bread to the poor.  Her friends followed her example with the result that, in a short time the rear of her store became a centre for St. Anthony’s Bread in Toulon. People of all ranks and conditions came there to pray before the statue of St. Anthony which had been erected.

Alms of bread arrived in great quantities, until the task of distributing it became too difficult. Then it was decided to accept money offerings for the poor, who were thereby enabled to purchase not only food, but clothing and other necessities. The thank-offerings also took the form of alms for the education of poor boys for the Priesthood.

More customs in honour of St Anthony

The life of St Anthony

Favours granted by St Anthony

Prayers to St Anthony to seek his intercession

My summary of the movie entitled: The Road to Lourdes

EWTN screened a movie entitled:  The road to Lourdes, which I recommend that you see if they screen it again.  It is a one hour drama staring Loretta Young. It was made in the 1950’s in black and white.  It is a very interesting story based on a real case of a rich American socialite, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  The doctor said that she probably only had a year to live. She had lost her faith years before this event and was afraid to die because she thought that death is the end of everything.  In addition her marriage was in tatters because of the infidelity of her husband, who appeared to be repentant, however she did not want him back, even to look after her when she was dying. She was talked into going to Lourdes. She witnessed a big miracle at Lourdes and her faith was restored and she was no longer afraid to die. She phoned her husband in Los Angeles and told him that she was coming home to him. He said that he would come to France and travel back to the U.S. with her. Their marriage was back on track. One of the good features of this movie it that it was shot on location in France (including the Lourdes Sanctuary).  It shows what happens in the baths at Lourdes.  I got to see exactly what happens there.  (I missed out on a “bath” at Lourdes in the miraculous waters. The queue was to long.)

Only a Taste of Lourdes Water

A Jesuit Father writes the following account to a religious paper :

 

The horse which was to have brought me to the railway station, fell on the slippery streets, and, so I missed my train. This was indeed very vexing as I had taken every precaution to be in time. We arrived at the station just as the train was moving off; regrets were useless, so I patiently submitted to my lot, and thought I would say my Office during the time which would elapse before the next train, which was due in about an hour. This was no easy task in a busy station, but if I went away, I did not know what to do with a large bottle of Lourdes water, which I had with me. To put it in the luggage room did not seem quite reverent, but I noticed in the corner of the waiting-room, a man, closely wrapped up, who, to all appearance, meant to sit there for several hours. So I walked up to him, and asked if he were going to remain there for some time. “Yes,” was the reply. This ‘Yes’ was uttered shortly, and signified, rather, ‘What does it matter to you?’  “Are you going to stay till eleven o’clock?” “Yes,” was the curt rejoinder. His voice sounded still gruffer. “If I leave this article here, will you look after it?”  “What is it”? he asked. “Oh, nothing very particular; but will you have, the kindness to take care of it?”

 

In a sulky voice, I at length got the reply- “Very well, leave it there.” I then went off to a quiet spot under some trees, near the station. Having finished my Office, I bought a newspaper, in order to pass away the remaining twenty minutes. Scarcely had I begun to read, when I seemed to hear a voice saying to me: “Go and see what has become of the bottle!” “Stupid bottle!” I could have said but the remembrance of its contents restrained me. I wanted to read, but the voice seemed to repeat: “Go and see what has become of your bottle!” I could stand this no longer, so I went; the man was still there, the man of the slow, rough and morose answers, but he sat with his face buried in his hands, and the tears welling through his fingers. “Oh, Father”, he said, “I will tell you all, yes all.” (How I wondered at this unexpected manner of address.) “You see that I am already an old man. I was born and baptized in the Catholic Church, and until the age of eleven, I practised my religion; then I lost my mother, and my father being already dead, I was left alone in the world.

 

Fortunately, I was in the hands of a good master, but he was a staunch Protestant, and he eventually constrained me to embrace his religion; and to please him, I became a Protestant. Later on I married, and God gave me a good Catholic wife who continually entreated me to return to the religion of my childhood; but I put it off from year to year. When you went away, leaving this bottle standing here, I was curious to know what it contained, and to try what a papist priest’s brandy tasted like, but I soon perceived that it was only water after all. As soon as I had taken a mouthful, a change came over me, I felt determined to become a Catholic once more; and I will do so immediately. So I beg of you, Father, to hear my confession.” This announcement was so strange that at first I believed the good man had been drinking something more than my water, and so I wanted to get rid of him. “We have not any time now,” I replied, “for the train will be here in a few minutes; besides, this is not the place for such things. Come to me at X.”

 

“Now, Father, now,” was the rejoinder. “I cannot come to X; do hear my confession and I promise you that I will go to church next Sunday with my wife.” “Do you know,” I asked, “where this water comes from?” “No” he replied. “It is from the miraculous spring of the Immaculate Mother of God at Lourdes.” “Well then, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary who has obtained this grace for me,” he said. Thereupon I lost no more time and before the train left, I had reconciled this aged sinner to his God.