A return visit!

Today Ingrid and Lars stopped by for a coffee. It was their second visit to Emmaüs; the previous occasion was 5th May last year! Lovely to meet them again.

They are from Sweden – now living in Stockholm but previously just two hundred km from the Artic Circle. For environmental reasons they had travelled from Stockholm to Bordeaux by train – a 24-hour journey! They commented that the railways of Europe needed to get their ticketing better linked-up and coordinated.

Easter Monday – our first pilgrim visitors

Three pilgrims stopped by today. Our first visitors for 2019. Two of them were looking for bread, all the shops and the bakery being closed today…..!

I like to think Easter Monday is also the Emmaüs feast day, when the two disciples, Cleopas and another (perhaps his wife, Mary) met Jesus on the road after His Resurrection.

Here again is the painting by Paul Cyr of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and which hangs in our shelter.

Mike – RIP

We mourn Mike who passed away on 11 September surrounded by  all his loving family.

Mike was one of our early volunteers at Emmaüs and contributed in different ways to the development of our little project. He used to pass his days sitting and painting at the front gate which always encouraged passing pilgrims to stop and talk.

Professionally he had been a doctor – university lecturer and then  general practitioner – with a particular interest in holistic medicine, seeing the patient as a whole – as a person . Throughout his varied and adventurous life he had consistently tried to discern God’s will for him and to act accordingly.

We are confident he now rests in God’s loving care and we keep his wife, Jenny, and their large family in our thoughts and prayers.

Musique de l’Ardèche

Martine et Max, ‘compagnons de route’ sont passés hier. Max vient de l’Ardèche et jouait un instrument  musical traditionnel de sa région pour nous.

Martine and Max, who were walking together, stopped by yesterday. Max was from the Ardeche region and played a traditional musical instrument for us.

Deux grands plaisirs

Aujourd’hui Alicia Geneviève et Guy-Hervé nous ont rendu visite. En effet ils sont passé chez nous la semaine dernière. Depuis lors ils sont arrivés à St Jean Pied de Port. Mais Geneviève avait toujours envie d’un de nos petites croix en bois d’olivier et ils sont rentrés pas voiture pour en chercher. C’était un grand plaisir de les rencontrer.

Ensuite Michel et Christine sont venu afin de prendre leur déjeuner dans l’ombre. Ils m’ont invité de partager leur repas – un deuxième grand plaisir de la journée.

Becoming more accident prone….

Barbara writes of her week in Arthez:

‘ Enlightenment happens by accident but you can make yourself more accident prone’.

A Bhuddist  saying that is applicable both to those who walk the Camino and those who welcome them as I have been doing this past week in Arthez.

Pilgrims pass by every day. To some extent the timing is predictable. Several between 8 and 9 who have come from Arthez about a kilometre away. Few stop for long, anxious to get on their way. Then a group between 10 and 11.30 who have mostly come about 10 kilometres from Pomps where there is a communal  gîte. They are often happy to stop for coffee and a brief chat especially if they have chosen to walk only a relatively short distance more. Others come from slightly further back on the route or have stopped to enjoy the beautiful Chapel de Caubin on the other side of Arthez with its first view of the Pyrenees and fascinating history.  (To read the text, right click on the photo and enlarge it.) They enjoy being able to relax and have lunch and longer conversations about where they have come from and where they are going, as well as sometimes indicating a deeper purpose to their Camino. This week one woman had decided to change her job and was walking from her home in Belgium to Santiago to help her think through her options.

Allowing myself to be more accident prone I spent time sitting reading or knitting in the front garden. As well as those I spoke to others passed by while I was out or indoors leaving only a used cup or empty biscuit wrapper to indicate their passing.

Several people have been struck by the beauty of our little ‘prayer space’. While none came to our Morning Prayer a couple stopped and prayed and one small group invited me to join them.

So it has been a good peaceful time to relax, enjoy the sun and occasional rain, welcome new people and stretch my horizons.

Barbara met some of this group again at the airport on her way home!

L’ histoire de Charles

Ce matin un groupe de seize pèlerins est passé, dont trois se sont décidé de s’arrêter. Il s’agit d’une organisation (ATD Quart Monde?) qui soutient les très pauvres en France et leurs offre la possibilité de faire Le Chemin.

Entre les autres pèlerins qui se sont arrêtés au cours de la journée se trouvait Charles, qui nous rende visite au debut du soir. Il a trouvé Emmaüs dans le Guide des haltes de prière es des hospitalités chrétiennes 2018. Sa vie était difficile. Séparé de sa femme, il a fait une ‘bêtise’ et passait un an de détention. Sortant de prison en juin il commence de faire le chemin en juillet. Pas à pas, et avec le soutien des autres pèlerins, et les frères de Conques, il retrouve la joie et change sa vie. Le voici. Il nous a autorisé de raconter son histoire ici.


This morning a group of sixteen pilgrims came by, three of whom decided to stop for a while. They belonged to an organisation (ATD Quart Monde?) which supports poor people in France and gives some the opportunity to follow the Way to Santiago.

Among the others who stopped in the course of the day there was Charles, who visited us in the early evening. He had found Emmaüs in the Guide des haltes de prière es des hospitalités chrétiennes 2018. His life had been difficult. Separated from his wife he had made a ‘mistake’ which resulted in a year in prison. Leaving prison in June he starts his pilgrimage in July. Step by step, and with the support of other pilgrims and the monks at Conques, he is beginning to find joy again and to change his life. Here is his picture. He gave us permission to record his story here.

Michel et Géraldine

Nous étions absents au moment du passage de Michel et Géraldine, mais ils nous ont envoyé une photo de leur visite chez nous.


Et les voilà plus loin – à St Jean Pied de Port (?)