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 (?)



Extrait Du: La République des Pyrénées du 15/7/ 2018

Nous étions encore dans le journal – un récit de Maeva dans La République des Pyrénées du 15 juillet 2108 :

“A Arthez, ravitaillement…. quelques pas plus loin, une pancarte indique une halte. Une vraie petite chapelle pour se reposer ou méditer. Stephen McCarthy, Anglais, s’est souvenu d’un homme rencontré au bord du chemin qui attendait les pèlerins pour discuter avec eux. Avec sa femme, il a installé ce petit havre de paix où l’on peut boire un café et se restaurer. » Ici, les pèlerins déposent leur fardeau qu’il soit physique ou psychique » explique le propriétaire.

A défaut de prier, on casse la croûte à l’abri de la énième averse du jour. Ca fait du bien et on repart avec le sourire pour entamer la longue et douce descente de la colline d’Arthez.”

Bon Appétit!

Virginie, Stanislaus, Jacky et Daniel se sont arrêtés pour prendre leur repas. Ils se sont rencontrés sur le chemin et maintenant marchent ensemble – jusqu’au bout.


Fewer pilgrims recently

There have been rather few pilgrims these last few weeks. We’ve been wondering why.  Jacques (no photo), a much travelled pilgrim who had walked to Jerusalem and Rome and had been to Santiago de Compostella on several previous occasions, thought the fall off of pilgrims this year had something to do with the growing secularisation of French society. But perhaps the hot weather is also partly responsible…..

Hot weather had not put off Yves and Guillaume – two pilgrims who did come by. We don’t remember meeting a father and son walking together before.

The click.. click.. of walking poles

Susan writes of her week at Emmaüs:

….. I was amazed by the variety of passing “pilgrims”: believers and non-believers, people walking alone or with friends, couples, large groups (like the five families and their parish priest from Paris who sang for us). What do they all have in common? I think it is a mixture of determination to move along the path, curiosity about the unfamiliar, and confidence that they will cope with what lies ahead. Walking is a way of using the regularity of movement to throw off what is habitual and free the mind. What did I learn in a week? To sit patiently and listen for the click.. click.. of walking poles, and to marvel at the world of interesting people beyond my own small patch.