Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Pilgrim Returns Home

I have returned from Chartres full of stories--and blisters. Blisters, aches and pains and weight loss. Sad to say, after three days of prayer and hymns of praise and mortification that you would hardly believe, plus masses in Notre Dame de Paris, in a  field of gravel and in Notre Dame de Chartres, the first thing I did when I got home was see if I fit into my blue Hobbs spring dress. And lo.

A plenary indulgence AND I fit into my Hobbs dress!

Seriously, though, it was an awesome experience. It really hurt, but it was amazing all the same. I learned a lot spiritually, that is for sure. I also learned about the human ability to adapt and survive in pre-modern conditions. Soon I will write a list of what to bring (and what not to bring) on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Thank you for all your prayers. My cold never worsened, and it mostly went away after Saturday night. Possibly the freezing air of my tent killed it. Thank heavens I paid a little extra to get the (child-size, as I am apparently the size of the largest type of child) sleeping bag that is comfortable to 5 degrees C and keeps you alive at 0 degrees C.

The French revision (review) paid off, too, for this moring I saved myself a long walk on very painful feet by saying to a friendly looking older woman, "Bonjour, madame! Excusez-moi de vous déranger, mais oú est la gare?" (Good morning, madam! Pardon me for troubling you, but where is the railway station?"

The Polish came in handy for making peace with a neighbour who, despite being Polish, addressed me in German during a territorial dispute in the foreigners' section of the campground. It's a long story, but it has a happy ending, which was the Polish lady returning to her tent to tell her daughter all about our subsequent Polish conversation and how nice it was. Their tent wall was right up against my tent wall, so I could hear everything. Goodness, how they giggled.


  1. Welcome home and well done - you are a trooper!! Very exciting about the blue dress! :)

  2. So happy to hear you've survived to blog another day. (and in the Hobbs' dress no less!) Looking forward to the full guide- and as many horror stories as you think it's prudent to recount. I've visited Chartres once, would love to make the pilgrimage one day if they'd ever have me.

  3. That's no trouble! You just sign on with a "chapter" from your country and go! See the Latin Mass Society website; also "Notre Dame de Crétienté" http://www.nd-chretiente.com/index-site.php

  4. Oh I've done all the research, it was more... where will I find a denim skirt long enough to cover my worldly self. (but reading your guide v. carefully, and there might be a smaller, Anglo-Catholic pilgrimage to Walsingham in June that I can join.