Steve suggested I join him for a long hike in the hills of Litchfield as part of my pre- Camino conditioning routine. This seemed a good opportunity to avail myself of Father Bills kind offer to stay at the Montfort Fathers Retreat House. I’ve known Steve & Bill less than a year yet they have significantly altered the course of my journey. Steve is my link to walking the Camino, first through the blogs he posted during his pilgrimage a year ago. He also introduced me to Fr Bill and this beautiful retreat center. A former Montfort Brother took it upon himself 50 years ago to create on-site a reproduction of the grotto & shrine of Lourdes. My first visit here triggered the thought that were I to decide to walk the Camino I should begin my pilgrimage from Lourdes France.
It has been wonderful to have some quiet time to catch up on reading and to reflect on my journey leading to all this walking. Our 16 mile walk yesterday was through some lovely woodlands for 7 hours providing time to reflect, and for Steve & I to learn a bit more about each other. And, fortunately, the mornings brief shower stopped prior to our setting out and did not return until we were back safely in our car at the end of the day’s hike.
To my great delight I rediscovered that the Dutch Epicure Shop, which I last visited in 1974, was still in business. Having just burned up better than 2000 calories I just had to buy some of their amazing pastries. I can happily report that they are just as good as I remembered. To relieve some of my glutinous guilt I brought back a delious pear tort for the others at the retreat house to enjoy.
Before leaving Fr Bill gave me a copy of the Pilgrims Prayer to take with me along with his blessing for my journey.
I stopped at the Grotto as I was leaving to pray for a few minutes, and I was treated to an impromptu concert in Spanish by some visiting pilgrims and nuns.
I do indeed feel blessed….