Still jet lagged. Very few made the 8.30 deadline for breakfast in the morning. Christian and many others were perfectly content to sleep into 10, but in a perfect example of French hospitality were kicked out of our beds at 9, as the cleaning lady had better things to do than wait for us. So rubbing sleep from our eyes we congregated in the foyer awaiting Charles (aka Crazy Charlie the bus driver).
So off we were into the wild blue French yonder, quickly ascertaining the knowledge that a real French poodles look the same as any other poodle. On the way to the heart of Aux-en-Provence our tour guide pointed our necessities, such as supermarkets, bus stops, and 2000 year old Roman bath- unfortunately out of use. Crazy Charlie dropped us off at the top of the main street with the strict instructions to return by 5pm.
Walking down Cour Mirabeau, the main street of Aux-en-Provence, we passed a plethora of cafés, pharmacies and large fountains covered with weeds. After reaching our meeting point, the steps of the Oblate Church, Church of the Mission , we were given free time to grab some lunch. So with little time to spare the race was on to feed our egaer tummies and see as much of this age old community. As divine as the main street was, it was the small maze like side streets which proved to be the bargain hunters paradise. But with 3pm looming we return to the church.
Celebrating mass we feel that a deep realisation was settling in among each of the pilgrims. This was were it was began. The birth of the oblates, the first step towards introducing faith to youth. We were surrounded by walls of history, looked down upon by statues of inspiration. It was in this tiny church living in small run down rooms that Eugene began his ministry, his dedication to the faith and the youth of the world.
The Oblate in charge, Fr. Ned was more than happy to give us a tour of this enchanting place, showing Eugenes room, personal vestments and yes ever his heart. When Eugene died he asked that his for his heart to be given to Oblates, his body to his diocese. It was amazing being to close to heart which gave so much and asked for so little.
Returning to the hostel a quick kick footy was dearly needed. But with Kyle possibly breaking a toe, thanks to Greg, dinner became a great idea. So a little tired, but very full we retired to the bar for a well earnt (non Australian beer). Cheers!
Christine Batki & Damien Keady