One year ago Steve introduced me to Father Bill and Lourdes of Litchfield. It is appropriate that I begin this journey attending mass Sunday at the Grotto here as I am on my way to the real Grotto in Lourdes France. I was surprised and immensely pleased that Father Bill offered a personal Pilgrims Blessing for me after Mass ended. I later posted this on a Camino Facebook page. In addition to a lot of likes and “buen Camino’s” a person posted that they were also at the mass and had walked the Camino three years ago.
Sunday continued to provide perfect weather as we set up at The Stand for my send off and O I fundraiser. A family which had just finished having dinner came over the see what we were doing. They were from Spain and their son had walked the Camino after college. Peter Magrane & Friends generously donated their time and talents to entertain. It was unanimously agreed that they were great. I have to thank all my friends who came to support me and donate to the IO Foundation. We raised over $1,000. This is on top of about $2k donated thru the link on my blog site. (You can donate there anytime and the money goes directly to the foundation).
This morning I received a note from a friend that her brother James is visiting Lourdes. He is a Carmelite Brother. We hope to find a way to meet.
It also seemed appropriate that I begin my pilgrimage by walking from my house to the train. The first person I saw on the platform was a friend I’d not seen in quite some time, Bernadette. As in, The Song of Bernadette, the 1948 Academy Award winning movie about the Virgin Mary appearing to Bernadette at the Grotto in Lourdes.
I was quite shocked when I received my first Buen Camino (Pilgrims greeting ), in Manhattan, of all places, from a young lady passing by who spotted the scallop shell on my back pack as I was waiting for the bus to the airport.
My seat mate on the flight, Xi-Yu, lives in Paris is a diamond merchant with Cartier and a part time cinematographer. He is retuning from filming for a client at Fashion Week. And he is also working on making a short film of interviews of Pilgrims of the Camino passing through Pamplona. Needless to say we had a great conversation. Perhaps our paths will cross again….’
Landed Paris 7:00 AM my next flight is 4:00 PM making for a long day. Took advantage of the time to catch up here and to purchase a new Sim card for my phone. Technology is a constant challenge… The weather here today is dismal with light rain.
Arrived in Lourdes to miraculous weather, sunny & warm. The town is surrounded by beautiful small farms with planted fields, neat houses very well kept. Snapped a few pics. Now it’s time for a bite to eat and off to sleep. I can’t believe I’m really here…feeling very blessed.