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A visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Orcival in France….by Tom & Sue

Bon Soir (again), from France …

Well, having slept almost 11 hours, I woke up early and, as Susan continued  to sleep, I got on the computer … absolutely determined to find  Notre Dame Du Port in Clermont!  I plugged in the hot water kettle in the  hotel room so that we could have tea or instant coffee before we left (another  snag … it didn’t work!).  When Susan awoke, we decided to just shower,  pack up and leave.  We didn’t want breakfast because we were looking  forward to meeting our Cathedral friends from home (who also live in France  for 1/2 year) for lunch.

As we made our way to check out of the hotel and re-load the car, I did  mention at the front desk our problems with the Internet, E-Mail and inability to have tea of instant coffee … the associate told me to go into the cafeteria and fill our traveling mug with coffee.  So I did!  It  took 6 Espressos, 2 Cappuccinos and a Cafe Ouelette.  Boy were we “wired” after drinking that mug of coffee.

As we left the hotel, I informed Susan that I was determined to go back  downtown in Clermont to find Notre Dame Du Port.  Having found the exact  street it was on while “Googling” the Shrine, the “Queen GPS” took us as close to the Shrine as she could.  There was no parking in sight, so I drove on further and we ended up parking in the exact same lot and parking space that we had been in the day before.  Our search of “Our Lady” was over … it  was a short 5 minutes away and we were right there in front.

Very happy and “mission accomplished”, we were both happy that we had pursued our efforts to visit this Shrine to Our Lady.  We entered the Church and knew that we were on limited time so we headed to the Sacred Crypt.  It was beautiful and filled with spirituality and  tranquility.  As we had intended, we Prayed our Prayers for your Special  Intentions and lit a Candle on your behalf … there was not a Prayer  Intention Book to enter names …but be assured that “Our Lady” heard the  requests!

We knew we had to leave Clermont-Ferrand so that we could get to our  meeting up with Bridgett & Richard (Our Palm Beach Cathedral Friends) at  their home in France for Mass and lunch … in Orcival and the Shrine of Our  Ladyof Orcival  it was about a 1/2 hour drive and we were meeting up at  10:00 A.M.

You can tell we are not used to this chilly weather
You can tell we are not used to this chilly weather

We entered the Shrine parking lot almost on time and, when we were parking, Bridgett & Richard were just about walking in front of our car and Susanjumped out to beckon to them.  Once we saw them, we could tell  that they are from Florida (at least part of the year).  They were laden with heavy coats and sweaters … I think more than we even had on!  The four of us greeted, hugged and laughed together … so happy that our plans to  meet up had come to reality … it was GREAT!

After a lot of greetings, we decided to have a cup of coffee together and then head up to the mountain Shrine before Mass.  We all entered a small cafe and the conversations continued.  Then it was on to walk The Way of  the Cross from the Shrine up to visit the small Shrine and the Statue of Notre Dame d’Orcival which Bridgett & Richard had seen processed up the mountain about a week ago for the summer months.

The climb along the stations of the cross in Orcival, France
The climb along the stations of the cross

This was the first “climb” Susan and I had attempted since our arrival… and since our last pilgrimage about 1-1/2 years ago … it wasn’t “very  pretty”! There were a lot of “ouches”, Ooooohs, Ahhhhhhs and stopping to catch our breaths and ease the burning pains in our legs.  Richard,  however, was just fine as he proceeded like a “mountain goat” … always far  ahead of the three of us and urging us on.  Without him, we probably  would have turned around.

We arrived, safely, at the summit and Richard & Bridgette said that they didn’t think that the Statue at the Mountain Shrine was the same that had been processed up about a week ago.  Richard moved on to see if the pilgrimage road went even further but it didn’t.  We all talked about trying to go further into the mountain walk to see if we could find “Her”, but we knew that there was a Pilgrimage Mass that was supposed to begin around  11:30 A.M., so we had to begin our climb back down the mountain.

Luckily, when we reached the Shrine of Notre Dame d’Orcival, there was a Pilgrimage Bus from Southern France accompanied by a young French Priest who was going to Celebrate Mass at 11:30 A.M. for his group.  The four of us entered the Church.  Richard saw the new “Cure” (Priest) of the Parish who had recently been assigned and he introduced us to him. Susan had  already “somewhat” had met him when she had e-mailed to find our Mass times  some time ago before our trip.  It was a pleasure to meet him and, through Richard’s interpretations, it appeared that Father did not know about  some of the Shrines we are planning to visit on this pilgrimage.  We bid  farewell to Father and, because Mass was not yet ready to begin,the four of us  decided to go down below and explore the Crypt.

Down below the Church and in the Crypt, there were some very unusual statues and vessels (see photos).  It was beautiful but time to get back upstairs in preparation for Mass. 

We lit a candle here at Our Lady of Orcival for all of your prayer intentions
We lit a candle here at Our Lady of Orcival for all of your prayer intentions

As we ascended, I purchased a candle  to light at the Altar of Our Lady for your Special Intentions and the Candle  was lit and placed before Our Lady  (and this Shrine was, in particular, for some very, very special Intentions … those of you who requested the Prayers have been Prayed for at this very special and Sacred  Shrine! … you know who you are!).

The Miracles of this Shrine have  been mainly for bringing still-born children back to life, for wishes to become pregnant, for protection of the child in difficult births, for those wishing for a child and, overall, for healthy children and the ability to bear children and protect the innocent.  There is Holy Water that we got at  this Shrine and we will shareit with you when we return home if you would  like a little for your own personal wishes.

The statue her in Orcival is said to have been made by Saint Luke.
The statue her in Orcival is said to have been made by Saint Luke.

Through Bridgett & Richard, we were told that Father had asked his “pilgrim group” to retrieve folding chairs and place them on/near the Altar  prior to Mass.  The four of us were invited by the Group Leader to do the same. As we got settled in and Mass was about to begin with only about 30 people, we realized that this Statue that is said to have been hand made by  St. Luke himself was only about 8 feet in front of us.

Mass was great and being able to join this group on the Altar along with their Priest during Mass was extra-special!  Father Celebrated a High Mass which was beautiful and the group sang various songs in French, which we did not understand, but they were spiritual!

So, after Mass, the four of us headed out to have lunch/dinner in the village the Bridgett grew up in while visiting her Grandmother. It is the home where Bridget’s Mom lives and Richard & Bridgette stay with her during their extended time in France.

Our friends took us to a wonderful little local restaurant they had chose for us to dine in … it was a stone’s throw away from Bridget’s Mom’shome (who, unfortunately, was being treated by a doctor for bronchitis).  We hope that her Mom is feeling much better and that their Grandson’s Religious  Weekend was beautiful and fruitful.

When we were seated in the local restaurant, B&R ordered us each an aperitif.  We Prayed Grace together and attacked the appetizer buffet ..  it was filled with wonderful fresh salads, pates, meats & sauccison, which  I hadn’t had in years.

Our Main Course had been pre-ordered by B & R … fresh local Trout  and pomme frittes.  Everything was delicious.  Susan had not had  Trout for years and I knew that I had to de-head and de-bone the fish if she  was going to eat it … so I did and placed it on her plate … she ate it all  and loved it!  Ces’t Bon … she said.

The meal was only surpassed by the conversation, love, friendship and  enjoyment of being with our friends … Bridgett & Richard.  We  had a great
time together talking about social, personal, religious and other  topics that
the four of us felt comfortable sharing.

At the end of the meal, I made a motion for the cheque and was told that Bridgett & Richard had treated us.  It was not our intention.  I  don’t get mad … I get even … So, when the two of them return to Florida in August …it will be OUR TREAT TO TREAT OUR DEAR FRIENDS TO LUNCH/DINNER …  Thanks, Bridgette & Richard.

After spending about 5 hours together, it was time for us to bid  farewell.  We had a wonderful time and it was great for Susan and me to  converse in English.

So, we headed for our next Bed & Breakfast which was about 2 hours away through the mountain range.  I had a ball driving…I think possibly Susan even enjoyed it!  It was just beautiful scenery and “The Queen”  took us through the roads and right in front of our B&B which was on the  side of a busy mountainous road.

Susan got out of the car to beckon to the owners.  All of a sudden I heard her speaking with them and realized they were all SPEAKING IN ENGLISH  … my first thought was … another English-Speaking Fix!

Ina and Kees are a lovely couple who are originally from Holland and we welcome them to our Daily Trip Report Group which they requested to be on.  This wonderful couple bought the property and totally re-furbished  the interior and exterior.  The house, the accommodations and the grounds  are
absolutely outstanding … just lovely and are this couple.  We  chatted a while when we arrived and the went to our room to “try to catch up”  on your Trip Reports.  From time to time during the evening, we would go  out to our balcony and chat with them about various things … promising to  have coffee together in the A.M.

Again as Susan was Typing I was laying in bed.  These beds were  great and we had put on the heat and the extra blankets.  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Well Tom did it again but I can’t get mad it has been a grueling  week.  I’ll let him finish tomorrow because that bed looks better and  better every second.

Au Revoir

May your lives be filled with the joy and love of Our Savior.

Hugs and Kisses
Love,  Susan and Sleepy

For more about the Basilica of Our Lady of Orcival click here.


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