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Saints of France 2018

15 Day Pilgrimage through Spain and France

Journey through Mountainous villages and holy shrines touched by a profound grace of Mary and some of the Church’s greatest Saints. From Montserrat in Spain and on into Lourdes we weave a pilgrim trail north through the glorious countryside and most sacred regions of France.

Highlights: Barcelona (1) / Montserrat (2) / Manresa / Lourdes (3) / Rocamadour (1) / Ars / Paray-le-Monial (2) / Taize / Nevers / Chartres / Lisieux (2)
 

Saints of France Pilgrimge 2018

 
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
ITINERARY
DAY 1: DEPART FOR EUROPE
DAY 2: ARRIVE BARCELONA

On arrival at Barcelona airport we will be met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure in this city synonymous with art, culture and faith.

Barcelona overnight (D)

DAY 3: BARCELONA TO MONTSERRAT

We enjoy a morning in Barcelona to experience the cultural canvas that underpinned many of Picasso’s artworks and view the unique and colourful architecture of Antonio Gaudi dispersed throughout the city. We commence with a visit and Mass in Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu), a celebrated example of Catalan Gothic architecture dating from the 14th century. The elevated site occupied by the cathedral has always been the spiritual centre of Barcelona.

We will be awe-struck visiting Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia Basilica, before enjoying a leisurely visit to Guell Park, where we can enter Gaudi’s house which is now a museum as well as offering spectacular views over the city.

Later this afternoon we will arrive into stunning Montserrat. The renowned 11th century sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat lies at the top of a 4,000 foot high mountain and is one of Spain’s most popular pilgrimage destinations. The shrine is home to a 12th century miraculous statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lovingly known as the “Black Madonna”, discovered in the Santa Cova or Holy Cave. Here at Montserrat St Ignatius kept vigil with a coarse sackcloth and a pilgrim staff.

Montserrat overnight (BD)

DAY 4: MONTSERRAT MOUNTAIN RETREAT

The spirit of Montserrat is a unique blend of the mountain, the sanctuary, and the life of monasticism. Around the sanctuary you will find many different banners and emblems representing various religious, cultural, social, financial and even sporting organisations.

Our spectacular day of pilgrimage begins with a visit and Mass in the Basilica, the construction of which began in the 16th century, and a viewing of the beautiful Holy Image of Our Lady of Montserrat, known affectionately as the “Black Madonna.” 

We will then board the Santa Cova funicular railway and after a short ride, enjoy a walk down the sacred path passing modernist sculptures of the Mysteries of the Rosary (all worked on by Llimona and Gaudi among others). Almost hanging from the rock’s edge at the end of the route is the Chapel where the image of Our Lady of Montserrat was found by young shepherds in the 13th century after seeing a bright light which led them to the grotto. We take time here at the Holy Cave for prayer and reflection before taking the funicular railway back up to the Sanctuary.

Before lunch, we will take our place among the privileged to hear the heavenly sounds of the Montserrat Boys Choir (The Escolania), one of the oldest and most renowned in Europe.

After lunch we will have a private guided tour of the museums. The remainder of the afternoon will provide the option of time for rest and prayerful reflection.

Before dinner, we will have an opportunity to join the Benedictine monks in the Basilica for the beautiful sounds of evening Vespers.

Montserrat overnight (BD)

DAY 5: MONTSERRAT TO LOURDES (VIA MANRESA)

After an early breakfast we farewell Montserrat and travel to the nearby town of Manresa where St Ignatius came on retreat for 11 months between 1522 and 1523. Each day he spent seven hours in prayer in a cave and then helped the sick in the village with the time he had left over. Here too Ignatius began to develop the method for seeking God’s will and where he wrote his renowned Spiritual Exercises. We come as pilgrims to this amazing place with St Ignatius and pray in the actual cave where his life and spirituality developed.

Later we travel through the scenic foothills of the Pyrenees, crossing into Southern France before continuing on to Lourdes. It was in this small town that Our Lady first appeared to St Bernadette in 1858.

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 6: LOURDES

We celebrate an International Mass this morning with pilgrims worldwide in the immense Underground Basilica of Pius X (schedule permitting) followed by a visit to the little village of Bartres, and the farm where St Bernadette was nursed and later returned in adolescence to help her foster mother. We will visit the Sheepfold and the Parish Church where she spent so many hours in prayer.

We will return to Lourdes to enjoy a peaceful afternoon to rest, wander at your own pace or take the time to pray the Stations of the Cross with the life sized copper images which overlook the holy Grotto. Spend some quiet time perhaps reflecting at the Grotto with its chapel built over the place of the apparitions.

Optional Blessed Sacrament Procession and evening candlelight procession.

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 7: LOURDES

This morning we will celebrate a group Mass at the Grotto before meeting our guide for a walking tour of Lourdes including the Sanctuary area: Upper & Lower Basilicas, the Grotto, and the Baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place. Continue our visit of the main sites associated with St Bernadette including the Boly Mill where she was born in 1844, the original parish church and the Cachot (prison) where the family was forced to live due to misfortune during the time of the apparitions.

Free time this afternoon for a visit and prayers for the sick at the miraculous Baths where the water has continued to flow since 1858. Pilgrims may choose to submerge themselves in the healing waters, or collect the Lourdes water at the taps. During her 9th apparition to Bernadette, Our Lady said “Go drink and wash yourself at the spring”. Optional afternoon Blessed Sacrament Procession and Blessing of the Sick before a final evening candlelight procession after dinner.

Note: Washing at the baths is a personally rewarding experience and is carried out in a discreet manner with the process being very respectful of one’s privacy. 

Lourdes overnight (BD)

DAY 8: LOURDES TO ROCAMADOUR

We depart Lourdes today travelling north to Rocamadour, the sacred city built stunningly against the side of a cliff.

According to legend, Rocamadour was the home of an early Christian hermit named Zaccheus of Jericho. It is believed that he died in about 70 AD and had conversed with Jesus himself. After the hermit's death and burial in Rocamadour, and even more so after the statue of the Black Madonna was brought here several centuries later, the site became a place of pilgrimage. The shrine is accessible from the town via an elevator or the Grand Escalier, a stairway of 216 weathered steps. From the Middle Ages many pilgrims have made the climb on their knees in penance. Along the way are 14 Stations of the Cross culminating in the Cross of Jerusalem at the top.

On arrival we will visit the Shrine of Rocamadour. Our group Mass will be celebrated at the Chapel of the Black Virgin where we have the opportunity also to pray before the miraculous Black Madonna statue. Other sites we will see include St Michael’s Chapel with its 12th century frescoes and St Amadour’s crypt.

Rocamadour overnight (BD)

DAY 9: ROCAMADOUR / ARS / PARAY-LE-MONIAL
Departing Rocamadour we continue our French immersion, travelling north-east to Ars, the little village where St John Vianney known as the Cure of Ars was based and to where pilgrims from all over Europe flocked to see him. We will visit the small church contained within the Basilica that John Vianney built himself, view his incorrupt body and celebrate our group Mass here.
 
From here we journey north to Paray-le-Monial, the place where St Margaret Mary Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 17th century. In revealing His Heart to her, Jesus said:
"Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing but has been poured out totally and consumed as proof of its love”. 
Paray-le-Monial overnight (BD)
 
DAY 10: PARAY-LE-MONIAL & TAIZE

After breakfast we set off for Taize, the tiny hillside community in which young people from all over the world are drawn. Pope St John Paul II referred to Taize as ‘that little springtime’ as pilgrims join in a common weekly programme of prayer meetings, discussion groups and meals. We join with the community for midday prayer, which is sung beautifully in the large candlelit church.

Returning to Paray-le-Monial, we commence our guided visit featuring the Chapel of Apparitions for Mass, and the relics of St Margaret Mary. Other highlights include the Chapel of St Claude in honour of St Margaret Mary’s Spiritual Director and the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.

Paray-le-Monial overnight (BD)

DAY 11: VIA NEVERS & CHARTRES TO LISIEUX

We farewell the city of the ‘Heart of Jesus’ and journey by coach to the town of Nevers nestled within the picturesque Loire Valley. Here we will celebrate Mass and visit the Convent of St Gildard where St Bernadette’s incorrupt body reposes and may be viewed. After she was blessed with the 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, St Bernadette retired to Nevers where she died at the age of only 35. 

Our pilgrimage takes us on to the great Cathedral city of Chartres where we enter inside the magnificent 13th century Chartres Cathedral, a medieval architectural wonder and home to the Holy Veil, said to be worn by the Blessed Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. Pilgrims too will see the most famous labyrinth in the world, built around the year 1200 and sometimes called the "Chemin de Jerusalem" or Road of Jerusalem.

Continue west to Lisieux, one of the world’s premier pilgrimage sites and home to St Therese, the ‘Little Flower’, whom Pope Pius X called ‘the greatest saint of modern times’.

Lisieux overnight (BD)

DAY 12: LISIEUX

Today we enjoy a pilgrimage tour of Lisieux visiting the family home of Les Buissonets, the Carmelite Convent Chapel with its reliquary of the saint and St Therese’s Basilica.

Final afternoon at leisure.

Lisieux overnight (BD)

DAY 13: DEPART FRANCE

Today we will be transferred to the airport for our homebound flight connections.

(B)

DAY 14: IN TRANSIT
DAY 15: ARRIVE AUSTRALIA

 
2018 DATES AND PRICES
AIR & TOUR PACKAGE
Code Departs Australia Arrive Australia
8SF01A Sunday 13 May 27 May
8SF02A Saturday 13 October 27 October
COST CHAPLAIN
AUD Single Supplement Name
$6690 $990 Fr John Craddock
$6590 $990 Fr Anthony Denton PP

NB. An additional mandatory prepaid tipping fund of $15 per day per person will be invoiced in advance by Harvest to avoid regular inconvenience to pilgrims on tour.
 
 
Full package based on departure from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth including all airline taxes and levies (subject to change). Refer to our full price inclusions and Booking Procedures for more information.
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