Catch up with Bro. Patricio and Bro. Lucas on their trip!
Day 3: After a good night’s rest, we began our trek to the Abbey of Mondaye, just 9 miles south of Normandy. We took a train from Paris to Normandy and were welcomed by our confréres of Mondaye. As the day progressed, more and more Norbertines from around the world began arriving in Mondaye. At the end of our day, we were able to spend some time with each other, sharing conversation over some snacks (and of course some wonderful Norbertine beers)! A beautiful day indeed it was as we began this week-long experience of communio (the Norbertine charism) with our sister and brother Norbertines from around the world. Br. Lucas and myself continue to pray for all of you as we continue on this European journey.
Day 4: Presentations and tours! That is what took place today. Throughout the week different Abbey’s will present their communities. It gives the juniors a little bit of insight into their Abbey’s, showcasing the diversity among the different communities around the world while living the same charism. Lucas and myself will present our Abbey on Thursday to the juniors of the order. In addition to presentations we were given a tour of the Abbey of St. Martin in Mondaye. A wall in the church containing bullet holes from World War II when the allies liberated Mondaye was preserved during the renovation of the space. Those holes can still be seen! It was a great and informative day. Now we begin to wrap up the day and settle in for the evening.
Day 5: The day began with Lauds (morning prayer) beautifully chanted. The confréres at the Abbey in Mondaye have amazing voices! After Lauds, some breakfast, then the day began with a presentation by F. Dominique-Marie Dauzet,a historian of our order. After a wonderful lunch, we proceeded with another presentation by F. Dominique-Marie Dauzet, followed by a few more presentations of the communities learning of their apostolates and community life. Being quite the character, Dominique-Marie began his presentation with a spirituality of the order, showing us images of Norbertine beer (a few Abbey’s at one point would brew their own beer), drawing laughter from around the room! As we begin to close our day, we prepare for a trip tomorrow morning to the ruins of the first Norbertine monastery in the valley of Premontre, established by St. Norbert himself! We continue to keep you all in prayer.
Day 6: pending the day at Prémontre
Day 7: After our excursion in Prémontré, we had lodged in Soisson for the night. So, this morning, we started off the day with the important part of our daily rhythm of our life, morning prayer and breakfast. Then we were off to our first destination, which is in Laon. We visited the Abbey of St. Martin of Laon. This being one of the places that St. Bartholomew had introduced to St. Norbert but was rejected by the community initially but later converted to the Norbertine way of life. After the tour, Mass was celebrated by our fellow international Norbertine brothers and had a short picnic in the garden before moving to our next destination, cathedral of Laon. Due to timing, we hadn’t the time to really take in the immense beauty of the cathedral itself. All the work that had been put in to make it on of the great places in Laon to pray and one of the place near where there were some Norbertine presence only a short distance away. So we departed by bus recited daytime prayer on our last trip to Lisieux. Our last trip was also short but we did get to take in at least some time to admire the architecture of the basilica dedicated to St. Therésè. We had gone down to the crypt of the basilica where we had ended our tour with vespers and followed by dinner (aka picnic no. 2). So we our day heading back to Mondaye for a restful night before beginning a new day of adventures.
Day 8: Back in Mondaye, we begin another days routine of liturgies. Today’s main highlight was a lecture on the history and spirituality of the vow formula presented by Fr. Gabriel Wolf, postulator of our order. By the end of the day we ended the day with a farewell barbeque.
Day 9: This was the day of departure. Following morning prayer and breakfast we all exchanged goodbyes and make our way to our next destination. For us, we are off to Paris.