Tuesday, September 24
Br. Larry Schatz, FSC
Today was “road trip” day; we travelled to two rather obscure villages, but places that loom large in the Lasallian world: Brouillet and Liesse. Brouillet is about 40 minutes from Reims and is the village where De La Salle’s maternal grandparents lived. We spent time in the local chapel where our Founder would worship with his grandparents, the Moets. We reflected on those persons who influenced our own prayer life and spirituality and ended with prayer. We then walked down the hill to the home (now uninhabited) where De La Salle would have spent many happy days.
From there we drove to Liesse. Before Lourdes gained prominence as a pilgrimage site, Liesse- Notre-Dame was a key French pilgrimage site. The madonna there is “Our Lady of Joy”. The day after Trinity Sunday of 1686, when De La Salle and the Brothers took their first vows, they made the pilgrimage to Liesse, walking through the night and again pronounced vows at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Joy. To commemorate that, about 12 of us walked the final two kilometers to the church. We are blessed to have Fr. Ray Fecteau on the pilgrimage, so he celebrated mass in the church for us at noon. After the homily the Brothers on the pilgrimage renewed their vows before the altar, followed by several pilgrims who testified to their own LasalIian commitment. We ended mass by praying the Hail Mary first in Latin and then English, followed by several other languages led by individual pilgrims, including Arabic and Mandarin.
We then had a relaxing indoor picnic (due to rain) and then a return to Reims. We later met for dinner at a nearby restaurant called “La Vigneraie”, which included a special birthday celebration for Patrice, one of our pilgrims.