For today’s episode, we are joined by Anthony Lilles, the Academic Dean of The Los Angeles Archdiocese Seminaries who blogs at beginningtopray.com. He led 50 pilgrims to France on a 2-week pilgrimage that started in Paris and included many pilgrimage sites. He provided spiritual conferences for the story of the saints in France on the pilgrimage, which was appropriately entitled, “In the footsteps of the Saints of France.” The goal of which was to study the lives of the saints and where they went on pilgrimages during their lives and their relevance to the present times.
Two prominent sites that he visited were the Notre Dame de Paris with its architectural magnificence and beauty and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, often just called Rue du Bac, where Saint Catherine Labouré had visions of Mary and where the miraculous medal was struck. It has had a huge significance in spiritual renewal since 1834. In that chapel, lies the body of St. Catherine and Mary promised that anyone who prays at the altar will receive abundant graces. For the story of the miraculous medal and how it came about, please check the other sources below.
He was also amazed by the serenity and the spirituality of the Abbey in Mont Saint-Michel, an ancient monastery on top of an island in Normandy, France.
The most wonderful place that he has been to in France was in La Salette-Fallavaux and the Paray-le-Monial, where Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Mary and showed her his Sacred Heart.
Other places that he would like to visit when he has a chance are the home of Elizabeth of the Trinity in Dijon and La Sainte Baume, where Mary Magdalene lived out the last years of her life in a cave on top of the mountain. Kings of France used to walk up barefooted to do penance for their sins. It has been a site for pilgrimage and penance for at least 1500 years. A few hours from there, they visited the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where Martha Mary and Lazarus is said to have landed to bring the Gospel to France for the first time.
This week we are celebrating quite a number of Catholic memorials this week like the one for St. Mary Magdalene. Her original burial site was in the cave in La Sainte Baume but now her body now is in the large basilica of St. Maximine. Also, this week is the traditional memorial of St. Christopher, patron of travelers. While looking over the internet for some info for St. Christopher, we came across an India-based travel and tours company which holds pilgrimages to sites related to St. Thomas, the Apostle and to Mother Theresa.
Also, this week is the memorial of Pope St. Celestine I. He is not the more famous Pope Celestine V who was locked up in a tower by his successor, Boniface the VIII, for the rest of his life. Pope St. Celestine I, was the pope in the 400s who condemned Nestorius and the heresy that Christ is two distinct people, one human and one divine. He also sent St. Palladius to Scotland and possibly sent St. Patrick to Ireland.
Also, this Saturday is the memorial St. Anne. A famous shrine is in Cormac, Ontario directly west Montreal, north of New York. If you can make it, you can join the pilgrimage that occurs between July 24 to July 27. It really seems to be more of a retreat than a pilgrimage. There are three masses with talks about forgiveness and a Sunday mass celebrated by Bishop Mulhall of Pembroke with a rosary and healing mass following. St. Anne’s Healing Oil, which is a blessed olive oil that has been burning in a vessel before the relics of the saint, will be distributed at this Mass.
Links to the things that we’ve talked about in the show:
- Beginning to Pray Blog
- Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction
- Discerning Hearts
- catholictravel.com/itunes – for your comments and suggestions
- St. Christopher Tours and Travel
- St. Celestine
- St. Anne Pilgrimage Site
Other reference links:
- St. Catherine Labore
- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
- St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
- St. Mary Magdalene
- St. Bernard of Clairvaux
- St. Anne
I am also the Operations Manager for the Book Center of the Rockies.