As usual, His ways are above my ways, and the scheduling worked out perfectly. We got to everything we wanted to do in one very busy day in Lourdes, and we really appreciated having the extra day in Paris.
Our first stop was my reigning "Favorite Church in the World:" Sacré Coeur for morning Mass.
It has beautiful views (when it's not raining!) and beautiful mosaics.
I love that in the focal artwork of the dome, the artist blends modern composition and style with the pre-Renaissance hieratic scale, making saints or members of the family of God larger in scale than ordinary or less important figures. It is SO COOL.
Next, on account of all the rainy, rainy, rain. We headed to the Louvre to do us some art appreciatin.'
That bottom left photo is the one I took after I had to say, "Stop picking your nose while I'm trying to take your picture in front of the Mona Lisa." Frankie and Anita really explored the the quality and nature of sensory responses related to, but not limited by, the concept of beauty. Ya know?
This is what it looked like when we lined up all the family so my dad could take a photo of us in the Louvre:
This is what it looked like for us:
We walked all over the city. We saw the Arc de Triomphe. We ate fancy ice cream that looked like flowers.
We wandered underneath La Tour Eiffel in the rain. It was pretty great.
The next morning we went to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Pro-tip: If you want to get into the restricted area behind the altar and sit in the actual choir stalls, just show up for morning Mass!
Next stop was Rue du Bac, the convent in which St. Catherine Laboure received at least three apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in 1830. Mary gave St. Catherine a vision of the Miraculous Medal, along with the charge to have it created. Easier said than done, that sort of thing. St. Catherine remained anonymous as the recipient of the apparition, all her life, working through her always dubious spiritual director. But, eventually the medals were created and have become extraordinarily popular.
That little sign is all there is to the outside of the convent, but inside are the sister's living quarters, a pilgrimage office and gift shop, and a really lovely little chapel. St. Catherine Laboure's incorrupt body is in the chapel.
The Chapel of the Miraculous Medal has just the sweetest altar painting you ever did see. It looks like it could have been done by Eloise Wilkin, of all those precious Little Golden Books. I love how it is so unassuming the outside, but so lovely on the inside.
St. Catherine Laboure's order of nuns was started by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, our Lulu's patron saint. St. Louise is another incorruptible, and is also in the chapel.
After Rue du Bac, we had the great pleasure of meeting up with Isabelle!
She reads this blog and offered to show us around, and since she's a PhD candidate in 19th century France history, the kids can now skip history in school next year. We learned it all and walked everywhere to do it.
Gus likes the stance of the French do not walk guy.
And that was it. Our trip home was relatively uneventful! Thanks for sticking out all the recaps and thanks to those of you who let us pray for you on our trip.
St. Joan of Arc, Patroness of France, pray for us!