Diocesan pilgrimage to Rome
Letters from Father Huet, Vicar of Saint-Étienne de Caen,
at the direction of the Religious Week of Bayeux
Tuesday, November 8, at noon.
I don't want to wait for our arrival in Rome, and I hasten to keep the promise I made to you. A few notes written from day to day in the carriage and according to the impressions of the moment, will enable the readers of the Religious Week to join in our pilgrimage.
Leaving Saturday and Sunday from Coutances and Caen, by the morning express, the pilgrims arrived in Paris, the first under the direction of Mgr the Bishop of Coutances, the others under the direction of Father Révérony, vicar general.
Sunday 6. — An appointment was made for Sunday morning to the first group of pilgrims at the Church of the National Vow. A hundred of them crowded around the altar when Mgr Germain began the 9 o'clock mass. After having given Holy Communion, turning towards the people, he showed, with the zeal and ardor which characterize him, in what spirit the journey to the tomb of the Holy Apostles should be accomplished. Faith, penance and love, he said, are the three great thoughts that should animate us.
After the speech, followed by the blessing, the pilgrims visited the crypt of the basilica in procession order and to the singing of the Magnificat, and Monsignor blessed a commemorative stone of the pilgrimage to Rome.
Monday 7. — Thus placed under the care of the Sacred Heart, we leave cheerfully by a special train at 6 a.m. 35. The initially rainy weather soon rises and the sun comes from time to time to try to brighten up the vast plains that we cross. We sing and recite the Rosary before arriving in Troyes.
From this town to Bar-sur-Aube, whose situation is charming at the foot of wooded hills, the landscape is more cheerful and becomes more and more beautiful as far as Chaumont, where the most magnificent spectacle awaits us. From the top of the 600 meter long and 50 meter high viaduct, built over the Suize valley, the panorama is splendid.
In Vesoul, some of the pilgrims take advantage of a few minutes of stopping to explore the town and visit the church
Needless to say, during the journey, piety has its part in the life of the pilgrims. Each of them has a small manual of prayers and meditations for his personal journey, and songs resound in the compartments.
Around 5 o'clock, we find ourselves opposite Belfort, the city of courage and heroism, and we happily salute this city of forts. An hour later, we were in Swiss territory.
Unfortunately night had fallen, hiding the magnificence of the country from our eyes. In several stations, groups of curious people came to witness our passage. In Délémont at the time of departure, they shouted goodbye to us.
In Basel, dinner was prepared at the station buffet when we arrived at 8:1 a.m. In the morning, we had breakfast in the wagon. At half past midnight we were in Lucerne (Lucerna) and it was time for rest.
Tuesday 8. — At 6 o'clock, general awakening. During the three-quarters of an hour before lunch, we tour the city, visiting the collegiate church of Saint-Léger with its magnificent woodwork, the Lion of Lucerne with its noble expression and surmounted by the inscription: Hetvetiorum fidei et virtuti, the historical museum (exterior), the wooden bridge which crosses the lake and under the roof of which the civil and religious history of Switzerland is painted.
We leave Lucerne at 8 am. This time we can enjoy the splendours of Switzerland.
At 8:1 a.m., Lowers Lake. At this moment we see snow for the first time. The peaks of the mountains surrounding the lake are covered with them. Below, large white clouds make the effect even more picturesque.
On both sides of the line, the landscapes follow one another with an infinite variety; each valley, each village with its different-looking chalets.
A few kilometers further, in Steinen, the snow covers the mountains, the banks of the lake are frozen. The two great peaks of the Mythen, 1 meters high, make the situation of Schwyz exceptionally beautiful.
At 9 o'clock we are on the shores of Lake Uri. Between a series of small tunnels that we cross, we admire the rocks illustrated by the presence of William Tell escaping from Gessler's boat. Near Burglen, where the liberator of Switzerland was born, the summit of the mountain disappears in the clouds at more than 3 meters in height.
I stop in all my descriptions, because I no longer know what terms to use. From one end of the wagons to the other, there is only one cry: “Oh! how beautiful! » We don't have enough eyes to look. Thanks to the arrangement of the wagons, we go from one side to the other, regretting not being able to contemplate everything and even more so not being able to remember everything.
At 10 a.m., we begin to climb the ramps of the Saint-Gothard.
Nothing as grandiose as the spectacle we have from Amstaeg, which is already 600 meters below our feet. The further we advance, the more wild nature delights us; the waterfalls that flow from the steep-sided mountains, the immense precipices that we cross hundreds of meters above; the gorges, the torrents that we have in front of us can only be indicated. Mirabilis in altis de minus!
The railway clings to the sides of the mountain which we go around. At Gurtuellen station we are at an altitude of 700 meters; to the next station (Wasen) at 931 meters. Between these two points, we pass three spiral tunnels, which raise the line by 25, 30 and 35 meters; at our feet, the line we traveled half an hour before; above our heads and, opposite, shepherds' huts, a few goats hanging from the rocks.
At Wasen, a train intersects with ours; we see at least a hundred meters above us the path we are going to reach. Leaving the station, we cross a precipice, we continue to climb and, soon after, we have two lines below us. At the far end, the charming village of Wasen, with its church sitting on a rock in the middle of the houses.
At 11 o'clock we are in Goeschenen, at the entrance to Saint-Gothard. We have snow within reach. Out of curiosity, we like to pick up some in our hands.
During the 22 or 23 minutes that it takes us to cross the Saint-Gothard tunnel, the general admiration is sufficiently suspended to allow us a moment of rest and calm and to prepare ourselves for new transports.
Coming out of the tunnel, we are surrounded by snow – the ground is completely covered; there are 10 to 15 centimeters. We reached a height of 1 meters
Going down, nature is a little less wild. We see a church on top of an immense rock: who lives at such a height! Is it a monastery or a small parish? We don't know.
After the Ticino gorges and a series of tunnels between which open the most charming clearings, we arrive at Faido, from where I hasten to send you the first notes.
All the pilgrims are delighted and are doing wonderfully.
I will send you my second letter when I arrive in Rome.
Your all devoted to Our Lord.
L. Huet, curate of Saint-Etienne de Caen.
Tuesday 8, at noon. — From Lavorzo, where I gave the station master the first letter I sent to you, and which I had finished at the previous station, we arrive at Giornico with its old church and its Lombard bell tower. Stations of the Way of the Cross are around the cemetery. Further, beautiful chestnut trees grow in the rocks, beautiful trellis vines are planted in the fields.
According to the countries we cross, the steeples and the churches are similar. What a difference with the monuments of our Normandy! Low and ugly in Champagne, with a small spire, the Ticino churches we leave are higher but generally styleless; the spireless steeples are more neat and pierced on each side of the square body with two or four windows approaching the Romanesque, and superimposed one by one or two by two.
On this side of the Alps, waterfalls rush in great numbers from the summits of the mountains. In Claro, the convent of Santa Maria is located on a small plateau halfway up the coast, whose magnificent location is however inferior to the magnificence of the site occupied by three fortified castles which dominate Bellinzona and defend on this side the entrance to the Swiss. It is in this town that we are served our meal in the wagon.
Until Lugano, without being so grandiose, the spectacle is still delightful. In this station, we have time to go out onto the terrace which is in front of the station, and from which we can contemplate this charming town at the bottom of the valley in which extends, all surrounded by villages and very beautiful chalets, the lake of the same name. All around, mountains bathe their feet in waters which sometimes come up to the edge of the line.
Finally, after various villages, one more picturesquely seated than the other on the side of the mountains or at the bottom of the valleys, we arrive at Chiasso, where the presence of the customs officers to inspect our luggage tells us that we have left Switzerland and that we are in Italy.
The night surprises us on the shores of Lake Como, however, leaving us time to admire the city and the graceful hills that surround it. The field of the dead, framed by galleries between the arcades of which many small lamps shine, attest to all the worship of the inhabitants for their dear deceased.
After arrival in Milan and the dinner that each group has in the hotel assigned to it, we take an evening walk to the superb galleries of Victor Emmanuel, in order to enjoy the enlightenment. The crowds there are enormous. We then tour the immense Cathedral. The impression that remains with us from just a glance at its walls, all made of deeply carved marble, decorated with bas-reliefs and statues, makes us eagerly desire to go inside.
Wednesday 9. — At 7 o'clock, all the pilgrims meet in the crypt around the tomb of Saint Charles. Monsignor de Coutances celebrates Holy Mass in the presence of the body of Saint Charles, and gives communion, after which we venerate the body of the blessed which we have the happiness of being able to contemplate. The soul is overcome with admiration upon entering the immense basilica. This forest of columns, of countless statues, these magnificent glass roofs, finally the entire grandiose ensemble of the monument which we visit in detail inside and out, make Saint Charles a monument worthy of him and of the recognition owed to him by the Milanese.
The morning is spent visiting the main sights of the city: the Campo Santo, the Arch of the Simplon, the old church of Saint Ambrose with the door that the illustrious Bishop closed to the Emperor Theodosius, the sarcophagus of the saint and the other antiquities preserved in the church and under the old galleries which precede it; finally the church of Saint-Alexandre with its beautiful paintings. — We are only passing in front of the Corinthian columns which precede the atrium of San Lorenzo, a remarkable church visited by only a few groups. Very few pilgrims were able to see the amphitheater of the Arena.
It is enough to say that the whole morning was perfectly filled. We have nothing but praise for the administrators of our pilgrimage.
At 3 o'clock we leave Milan, heading for Venice. The sun, which had refused us its light as it crossed Switzerland, lights up the Alps, which we begin to see before arriving in Bergamo.
So as not to lengthen my story, I will say nothing about the vast, well-planted and fertile plains of Lombardy that we are crossing. It is not enough to admire the works of God, we must thank him for them. We begin to pray to him before night overtakes us. I'm done for today; see you tomorrow for more notes.
Thursday, 10. — It was 10 o'clock when we arrived in Venice last night. Immediately we embark for our respective hotels, in groups of four on each gondola. After half an hour, we were at our destination.
Today, for the first time, we enjoy the beautiful skies of Italy. The weather, cloudy until today, has completely cleared up. The sun is shining.
After a mass at St. Mark's Church and lunch, we visit the part of the city that can be explored on foot, the main monuments, among others the incomparable Doge's Palace. What magnificence! What a profusion of paintings by the great masters, by Tintoretto, Veronese and the whole Venetian school!
After having enjoyed the general look of the city, from the top of the Saint Mark's tower, we go down to the basilica of the apostle begun in the IXe century with materials brought from Ste-Sophie de Constantinople. As it would take days to enumerate his riches, I will not go into detail. The magnificence of its marbles, of the mosaics which decorate the vaults and the five domes, of its paintings, can only be indicated.
After lunch, we leave in groups of 30 people led by a guide to visit the main churches and enjoy the spectacle that only Venice can offer us • boat trips through its streets.
We see successively Saint-Alexandre, with its black and white marbles and the painting of the disciples of Emmaus, Saint-Jean and Saint-Paul, the Pantheon of Venice with all its mausoleums; the ruins of the Chapel of the Rosary built after the Battle of Lepanto; the Jesuits' church with its very beautiful but somewhat heavy and cluttered mosaics, its pulpit decorated with marble draperies of incomparable fine workmanship, and its paintings by Tintoretto (Assumption) and Titian (martyrdom of Saint Lawrence); the church of Sainte-Marie-des-Frères, containing the tombs of Ganova and Titian and of several doges or governors of Venice, and above all stalls from the 21th century, in three rows on each side of the choir of admirably On our way to Sainte-Marie-della-Salute, erected in the sixteenth century in thanksgiving for the cessation of the plague, by the Venetians who return each year on November XNUMX to visit it in droves! a glass factory.In the evening, before our rest, we will enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the Place Saint-Marc, whose galleries remind us somewhat of those of the Palais-Royal in Paris.
Friday 11. — The departure from Venice took place at 9 o'clock, from the hotels. Embarking on a river boat, we were able to admire one last time, for half an hour, the magnificent palaces that line the Canal Saint-Marc. After a visit to the overladen marble church of the Carmelite Fathers near the station, we set off on a pilgrimage to Padua.
Our arrival in this city of 50 inhabitants was quite an event. A huge and sympathetic crowd crowded under the porticoes which are on each side of the streets, to see the 000 cars driving us to the hotel and the churches.
The first visit we made was to Saint-Antoine. After walking through this vast church, admiring the bas-reliefs representing the principal miracles of the saint's life and his portrait, we were admitted to kiss the reliquary which contains the tongue of the blessed.
From there, we went on pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Justine which is under the high altar in the church of that name. His martyrdom was painted by Veronese, on a painting placed in the apse. Ban the transepts, the sarcophagi of the apostles Saint Matthew and Saint Luke. This church, which has three naves with chapels along its entire length, also has stalls of very rich sculpture on which are represented the principal scenes of the Old and New Testaments.
At 3 o'clock, the railway takes us to Bologna. On our arrival, an enormous crowd awaits us at the station, and attends our departure in the omnibus.
Saturday 12. — We have three hours to pass in the city to make our pilgrimages. After celebrating Holy Mass in the churches closest to our hotels, we meet at the huge San Patronéo church to visit the Sainte-Catherine church.
We are admitted to venerate the saint's body and to kiss her feet and hands. The Blessed is seated in an armchair in the small oratory dedicated to her. Her body is admirably preserved, her limbs are flexible, the sweat of blood that flowed when she was dragged from the tomb, eighteen days after her death, to put her in the place she occupies without any support, has remained very liquid. May she pray for us during our journey, and may she give us all a little of that love she had for the Child Jesus, who bathed her, giving her a kiss whose place remained marked on the face of the saint.
We ran out of time to go to the tomb of Saint Dominic. One group went there, while the others went to the tombs of Saint Petronius, patron saint of the city,
of Saint Vital and Saint Agricole, which are in the old church of Saint-Etienne, formed of seven churches united to each other by galleries and built on a temple of Isis whose columns serve for the first church.
All these races allow us to take a look at the city whose streets and galleries are much larger than in Padua, with beautiful neighborhoods. As churches, I can only cite that of Saint-Barthélémy near the leaning towers whose ornamentation and paintings leave nothing to be desired in terms of taste, richness and ornamentation.
Our departure for Loreto takes place around 11 a.m. The journey is 6 hours. Everywhere we see, as in Virgil's time, the vine married to the abalone. The countryside is rich, the horizon is varied. We salute in passing Imola, the former bishopric of Pius IX, Rimini, the homeland of Saint Frances, on the banks of the Adriatic, Ancona and Castelfidardo where Lamoricière and his brave soldiers performed prodigies of valor to preserve for the Supreme Pontiff his temporal power.
At 5 o'clock, we climb the hill of Lorette. With what happiness we entered the Santa Casa, and recited the Aves of the rosary in this blessed house of Nazareth where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin and whom the Angels transported to this fortunate place on earth. Yes, it is with all our heart that before going to take our rest, we sang the Magnificat and the invocation to each of the members of the Holy Family.
Sunday, 13. — At 4 o'clock, masses begin in the basilica. Fate has designated the lucky ones who will be able to celebrate it in the Santa-Casa or at the great altar leaning against the present House. The others console themselves by thinking that they are under the roof which shelters it, and it is with the greatest consolation that they expose to the Blessed Virgin all their requests for the so many people who feel recommended to them. Monsignor the Bishop of Coutances celebrates the communion mass at 8 o'clock.
The first part of our morning was to be devoted to our pilgrimage. During all this time, we follow one another at the feet of the miraculous statue sculpted by Saint Luke, having our objects of piety blessed and placed in the bowl of the Most Blessed Virgin. We only had one regret: that of giving up our place too quickly to the crowd that was beginning to arrive from the neighboring countryside.
Leaving Loreto, we travel to Rome. The sky is cloudless, the temperature is warm as we cross Umbria with its small fortified towns, sitting on the top of the hills like in Romagna, the beautiful valleys formed by the Apennines whose highest peaks seem covered in snow . Night surprises us when we arrive in Spoleto and will therefore prevent us from seeing the Roman countryside and greeting the Eternal City long before our arrival.
Monday, 14th. — At the end of our first day of stay in Rome, I don't know how to give you an account of our time so as not to be long or boring for those who will cover these lines. We had a real steeple run, First Mgr Germain celebrated mass at Saint-Louis des Français for the pilgrims. The great organ did not stop playing during all the time it lasted and during the communion.
For the visit of the monuments, the pilgrims are divided into five groups. That of the Hotel de Milan, made up of about fifty people from the diocese of Bayeux, today had none of the marvels of Rome to see.
From Sainte-Marie in Via lata where Saint Paul was thrown into prison and caused a spring of living water to gush out—from which we had the pleasure of drinking—to baptize the family of Saint Martial, we go to the church of the Holy Apostles, built by Constantine. We invoke the apostles Saint Philippe and Saint Jacques-le-Majeur, who were buried there. The relics of the first are only preserved there in the underground church open in front of the sanctuary.
Passing near Trajan's Column and the too famous Tower of Nero, near which there are still some ruins dating from Romulus, we arrive at the Quirinal, the former summer palace of the Popes, usurped by the King of Italy.
The two closest churches are closed when we pass, so we cannot visit them. We deeply regret this custom in Italy which prevents entering the holy place shortly after the celebration of the masses.
After visiting Sainte-Suzanne, we arrive at Sainte-Marie-des-Anges, built on the ancient baths of Diocletian. The large library room in this building is currently in use. transverse church, the apse and the entrance are the work of Michelangelo.
Then crossing the Pia gate, we head towards the Saint Agnes church, the work of Constantine in its entirety. After a prayer to this courageous child who rests in the au. el, we go up from the church which is 8 meters below the current ground to pray at the tomb of Saint Constance in the nearby baptistery that the first Christian emperor had erected for the baptism of his daughter and that he chose for burial from his family.
At Sainte-Marie-de-la-Victoire, served by the Franciscan Fathers, we venerate the body of Saint Victoire, and admire in passing the Guide's Dream of Saint Joseph and Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. From the vault hang the flags taken by the Christians from the Muslims in various battles.
We can only deplore the bad taste which governs the ornamentation of churches for solemnities. At Sainte-Marie-de-la-Victoire, as in several others, the marbles and other masterpieces are hidden by showy and worthless draperies which surround the pillars starting from the beginning of the vaults.
At the Capuchin convent, if we venerate with respect the absolutely intact body of Blessed Crispini and if we admire in the church the Saint Michael of the Guide, the Saint Francis of Domenichino, we are far from being filled with enthusiasm for this immense ossuary which we are then shown around.
From La Trinité-des-Monts near which is the Villa Medici, residence of French artists who come to Rome to perfect themselves in the fine arts, we take a walk to the Pincio to enjoy the panorama of Rome, and go down to Place du Peuple to contemplate the magnificent obelisk in the center and visit Sainte-Marie-du-Peuple where the Roman pontiffs came every year on September 8 to venerate the miraculous Madonna.
From this church which contains the oldest stained glass windows in Rome and several masterpieces of sculpture by Raphael's chisel, we go to Saint-Charles. Unfortunately we cannot venerate the heart of the blessed, preserved in the church, nor see his famous portrait, hidden by the hangings of which we have spoken.
Finally, our day ends with the pilgrimage to Saint-Laurent and Saint André-delle-Fratte. In the first, we venerate the grill on which Saint Lawrence suffered martyrdom and admire the beautiful Christ of the Guide, and in the second we prostrate ourselves before the miraculous picture where the Virgin made faith descend into the soul of RP Ratisbonne.
Before night has completely fallen, we return passing at the foot of the obelisk erected by Pius IX, in memory of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and in front of the immense and imposing Trevi fountain.
We are at the end of our first week of pilgrimage. Everything continues to go well; health is excellent.
We do not yet know the day of the pontifical audience. The pilgrims from Nantes who accompany Mgr The Rooster, will meet with us for the occasion.
Please accept, dear Mr. Director, the assurance of my complete devotion to Our Lord.
L. Huet, Vicar of Saint-Etienne de Caen.
Rome, November 20, 1887.
Before resuming my little diary, I cannot help making one or two reflections and making a comparison between Rome and the other towns of Italy which we passed through. It seems that one is more at home in the Eternal City. The people seem in no way surprised to see us; there is, it seems to me, something sympathetic in her outfit when we cross the city. Is it real? I leave others the freedom to think otherwise.
What a difference also in the gender of people and in dress! The general tone is much more serious and in better taste. The common people are not neglected as in Milan, Bologna and especially in Venice. In this class of society, the women are sometimes dressed in their rather graceful national costume, much more so than that of the women who thronged to the basilica of Lorette when we left.
As for the city itself, except for certain newly pierced quarters, the streets in the interior of Rome are of an ordinary width as in our provincial towns, but without sidewalks. Keeping proportions, the narrow streets are much more numerous. On all sides, outside the walls, new streets, huge houses are being built.
Let us now return to the daily account of our peregrinations.
Tuesday November 15. — The rainy weather at the start is hardly favorable for traveling in an open car. However, we leave, one sitting near the driver under his large green or brown umbrella, and the others sheltered by the hood of the car. The water only lasted about an hour. Our visit yesterday was a bit tiring, not having any of the great monuments of Rome to visit. Today we are completely compensated. What holy emotions are produced by the sight of these remarkable relics that not everyone can see, and which we are allowed to venerate, thanks to the efforts of Mgr de Coutances and our title as pilgrims!
We start with Saint-Pierre-ès-liens. We go down to confession to contemplate the chains of the Apostle, the tomb containing the ashes of the seven Maccabean brothers, and after a quick glance at the paintings in the apse and the sacristy recalling the miracle of the deliverance of the Chief of the Apostles, after a few minutes of admiration in front of Michelangelo's Moses, we go down to the Colosseum.
What a sight again, these grandiose ruins where so many thousands of martyrs died for the confession of their faith! Why then did the invaders of Rome have to remove the Cross and the religious stamp that the Popes had stamped on it in the stations of the Via Crucis, to restore its pagan stamp? For us, memories are not erased; a land soaked in the blood of Christians can only increase faith when one kneels there.
From the Arch of Constantine which is very close, we go to Saint-Jean-de-Latran. This time we are on papal soil. After visiting the palace and its museums, we go to La Scala Santa. With what religious joy, we climbed on our knees the twenty-eight steps of the staircase climbed by Our Lord to go to the Praetorium of Pilate! With what happiness we kiss the three places where the traces of his divine blood have remained!
We then enter the large and superb basilica, passing close to the walled door known as the Holy Door and which only opens at the time of the Jubilees. There are kept and venerated the table of the Last Supper, the heads of S. Peter and S. Paul. Nearby a charming cloister, in Byzantine style from the XNUMXth centurye century, a true Christian museum in the center of which is the well which is said to be that of the Samaritan woman.
Right next to the church, the baptistery of Constantine, octagonal in shape, with beautiful mosaics from the IVe century. Pilgrims alone visit the small Saint-Jean-Baptiste chapel; the ladies cannot enter because, say the guides, of the crime of Herodias who demanded the head of the Precursor.
From there, by an awful path, skirting the interior of the city walls, we go directly to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (this basilica takes its name from the earth brought from Jerusalem and put in the foundations. ) . As its name suggests, everything must recall the Passion of the Saviour. We are therefore admitted to venerate: three rather considerable pieces of the true Cross, one of the nails which fixed Jesus to the wood of his torture and two of the thorns which tore his forehead. The altar step contains the transverse wood of the cross of the good thief and measures almost 2 meters in length. Finally, after having venerated the finger that St. Thomas placed in the wounds of the Saviour, we pray to St. Césaire and St. Anastase, whose remains are enclosed in the high altar, to intercede for us. The entrance to the underground chapel, built by Ste Hélène, is still forbidden to women, on pain of excommunication.
Crossing the Porta Maggiore, after having traveled two kilometers in the countryside, we arrive at Saint-Laurent-hors-les-Murs. There Pius IX of holy and illustrious memory is buried. His sarcophagus is simple; but today the faithful still decorate the chapel which contains it with magnificent mosaics. —In front of his tomb is the stone in which the grill on which S. Laurent was roasted was fixed. — His story and that of S. Étienne is painted on the walls of the nave.
I am not talking about the old columns, which serve as pillars in almost all churches. They almost all come from the temples or thermal baths of pagan Rome. Every day the traces of the city of Romulus gradually disappear; we only come across two or three fine specimens on our way to Ste Marie Major.
The night beginning to fall prevents us from admiring in detail the riches of the basilica. The greater clarity of the transepts only allows us to contemplate the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament with its immense tabernacle supported by four angels, and the tombs of Pius V and Sixtus V. We are obliged to postpone the veneration of the Crib and the painting which recalls the miracle on the occasion of which the basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges was built.
On the way back, we pass by the small church Ste Praxède, so rich in memories. Isn't that where the body of the saint is, in fact, kept, the well in which she deposited the blood of the martyrs that she had been able to collect with Ste Pudentienne at the Coliseum, and the marble table on which she rested? Is it not also in one of its chapels that the column to which the Savior was attached during his flagellation is preserved?
The darkness does not allow us to distinguish anything in St-Martin-des-Monts. At Ste-Marie-des-Monts, where we proposed to close our pilgrimage of the day by visiting the relics of S. Benoît-Labre, the great pilgrim of France, the sermon which one gives prevents us from carrying out our project. At 5 o'clock, we return to the hotel.
At dinner that evening, we learn with happiness that the Holy Father is admitting us to his Mass on Sunday, and that the audience will follow him.
Wednesday 16. — Today is the start of the Italian Chambers. The Parliament is located in the same square as our hotel. We see, before our departure, the preparations for the reception of the King, the place is occupied by the gendarmerie to maintain the crowd. As we did not come to Rome to see this sovereign, we left at the usual time.
The greatest variety was in the program assigned to us. One thing, however, did not vary: the poor condition of the paths to be followed during the whole journey. Subsequently, we could not visit St-Paul-aux-Trois-Fontaines.
The first part of the day was for the visit of secular monuments, except for the short stop we made at Saint-Etienne-le-Rond, an original and curious church, of a round ton as its name suggests, in the altar from which lie the bodies of St. Prime and St. Felicite. All around are painted the different kinds of martyrdom endured by Christians.
At some distance, the colossal ruins of the baths of Caracalla, as considerable as those of the Coliseum. How well they represent the power of Roman genius!
Further on we enter a "columbarium", a small building in which the ancients placed the urns containing the ashes of their dead. Four or five hundred small recesses, curved like the holes in the dovecotes, indicate the place where they were deposited.
Passing then through the Saint Sebastian gate, flanked by two large square towers and without going down to the chapel where Saint Peter said to Our Lord: "Domine, quo vadis? Lord, where are you going?", we arrive at the Catacombs of S. Callistus.
A child of the diocese, Father Marie-Bernard, gave us the most gracious welcome. We divide into two groups to see better, and successively visit the most important of the galleries. It would take hours to walk through the five or six floors whose total length is 16 kilometers and we only have one hour to devote to it. How quickly this hour passes! As we sing with love: “Omnes sancti Martyres, orate pro nobis,” as we leave the chapel of Ste Cécile, of the martyr Popes and of all those generous Christians who died for Christ! How faith is strengthened by contemplating the sacraments and the mysteries painted on the walls of the underground chambers at the origin of Christianity!... But, let's move on.
From the Catacombs we go to San Sebastian to venerate the saint at his tomb, one of the arrows that killed him and the column where he was tied. Here again we keep the stone on which Our Lord left the imprint of his feet when he appeared to the chief of the Apostles and the cross in front of which S Philippe de Néri often came to pray. In the papal chapel, descending twenty steps, are the well where the first Christians hid the bodies of S. Peter and S. Paul, and the square of the seat on which Pope S. Stephen Ier was put to death.
Finally, to end our pilgrimage, the most wonderful surprise was in store for us. Saint-Paul-hors-les-Murs with its five naves, its immense columns, its splendid mosaics in the apse, its superb malachite altars, its portraits of the popes also in mosaic and its colossal statues of S Peter and S. Paul, make the deepest impression on all our minds. The heart and piety also find their reward in this visit: is it not there that the remarkable relics of the two great Apostles and the chains of Saint Paul are located? When the portal is completed, the exterior will be no less imposing than the interior, judging by the atrium and the incomparable mosaics that line the walls of the portal.
For the first time since we have been in Rome, we meet the Tiber with its dirty and muddy waters when we return to our home.
Thursday 17 — We had our morning free. Each has used it according to his good pleasure. For my part, despite all
ip, charges of rhetoric used by our guide to convince us that it was better to end with Saint Peter's in Rome, I went to the basilica, and I came back convinced that it is not two or three times that you have to visit it. but a hundred times.
At noon our group visits started again. Flanked by eight plainclothes constables, two leading and two trailing and the others spaced along the length of the group to spare us any untoward demonstration (in our car races we usually had only two or three constables. We never did not need their intervention), we did our shopping on foot, the monuments to be visited not being very far from each other.
Skirting the imposing ruins of the theater of Marcellus, which served as a model for the Coliseum, we arrive at the portico of Octavia, and we no longer find ourselves in the Ghetto where the Jews were withdrawn, but in the middle of the rubble of this district that the we destroy.
By excessively narrow and winding streets, we come out near the ancient temples of Virile Fortune (today Ste Marie-l'Egyptienne), of Vesta (circular temple dedicated to S. Etienne, patron of the coachmen of Rome), and we find ourselves opposite the temple of Céres which has become the church of Ste Marie-in Cosmedin or la Belle, which deserves to be seen. Under the portico, the "mouth of Truth" in which the Romans placed their hand to affirm the truth. If they lied, the mouth was closed, they said; but it was also added that there were more guilty hands than cut off in the circumstances. The columns of the church come partly from the old temple; at the bottom of the apse, there is a pulpit on which S. Augustine would have sat. Nearby, the bedroom of Blessed J. -B. de Rossi which we did not visit.
Palatine Hill with all its memories and ruins holds us back for almost two hours. From the cave where, says the story, the wolf who fed Romulus and Remus stood, and passing in front of the temple of Vesta, erected in the place of the fig tree under which she would have suckled them and which today serves as the sepulcher of S Theodore, we go through the immense ruins of the palace of Caligula, the charming house of Livia, mother of Tiberius, with its frescoes of incredible freshness, the various basilicas or courts of the emperors, then we go down again to the arch of Titus, at the forum of the emperors, at that of the Romans, at the college of the Vestal Virgins. We are doing a real Roman history lesson that we finish at the Place du Capitole and at the Tarpéïenne rock.
We then return to the heart of the most touching memories of Christianity. What a horrible dungeon was this Mamertine prison where S. Pierre and S. Paul were locked up with 47 other prisoners! With what joy we drink of this miraculous water that the chief of the Apostles brought out of the rock to baptize his jailers Processe and Martinien! There again is
the column to which the Apostle was attached. In the upper chapel, the people constantly become pray before the miraculous Crucifix which is there.
Then going up to the church of Ara Coeli, we venerate the ashes of Ste Helen and the Bambino or miraculous statue of the Child Jesus, so dear to the Romans.
Finally, we go to the Church of the Gesu, one of the richest in Rome. For us, we lower the canvas that covers the marvelous group of richness and beauty that represents the apotheosis of St. Ignatius, which we only discover on great feasts, and we venerate his body. Opposite, we will pray to St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of India, whose arm and hand are exposed to our homage. A visit to the house of S. Ignatius puts the complement to the pilgrimages of the day.
Friday 18. — It's artists' day. What a magnificent solemnity this Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Peter is celebrated today! Having the good fortune to find ourselves in Rome, we cannot let it escape.
Cardinal Howard was a pontificate at high mass, and an archbishop at vespers. The great mastery was heard in the Clementine chapel. What powerful and harmonious voices as bass, tenor or soprano! We were hanging on the lips of artists singing solos or duets. The soul was seized when all the mastery and the two organs, Munissant in the forte, made the immense basilica resound with their sublime chords. At the end of the mass and vespers, from the top of the platform where the major Relics are kept, three blessings with the true Cross, the spear and the linen used by Ste Veronique to wipe the face of the Saviour, were given to the audience.
Between the offices, our time was devoted to visiting the Vatican museums: the small one but chosen from the paintings of the great masters, and that of sculpture, the most beautiful and the most precious in the whole world; finally the Sistine Chapel, decorated by Michelangelo, and the superb library, especially in the part called the Great Hall, where some of the magnificent objects offered to the last popes by various monarchs are exhibited.
Was I not right to call this day the day of artists in music, painting and statuary?
Saturday 19 — On Tuesday, we were unable to venerate the Crib of the Child Jesus at Ste-Marie-Majeure. This favor is granted today to the five groups of the pilgrimage who then disperse to the four corners of the city.
We make different stations on our way to St-Pierre that we must study in more detail. The first is at Ste-Marie-du-Transtevere erected in 224 by Pope Saint Calixte, rebuilt like almost all the churches of Rome in the XNUMXth century.e century, and restored by Pius IX. A multitude of relics, coming from the cemetery bearing the name of the holy Pope, are preserved there, as well as the stone that was placed around his neck by throwing him into a well, and the fountain of oil that flowed during the birth of the Saviour.
What about the Church of St.e- Cecile? The memory of the saint with whom the sanctuary in which she lived and in which she rests is embalmed, cannot but rejoice the hearts of Christians. Are not her virtues also perpetuated by the two communities of Poor Clares and Benedictines, who repeat after her the glory of the Most High? Next Tuesday, feast of the saint, all the artists of Rome will meet around her glorious sepulchre.
Passing from there near the convent where S. Francis of Assisi lived, we could not omit to visit his room, and the relics of all the blessed of the Seraphic order that are kept there.
We then climb Mount Janiculum. On this mountain St. Peter was crucified; we prostrate ourselves near the gaping hole in which his cross was planted, and after a quick glance at the magnificent panorama of Rome and a visit to the superb Pauline fountain, near which is the Saint-Pancrace door by which the French entered Rome in 1849, we arrive at Saint-Pierre.
I won't go into any detail. Everyone knows the first church in the Catholic world. We stop for a few minutes at each masterpiece it contains, and we go down to Confession to pay the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul the homage that every Christian soul owes them. May they always be our guides in faith, and our models in virtue!
After Saint-Pierre, we only had to finish our shopping. So we content ourselves, after walking along the castle and crossing the Pont Saint-Ange, to enter the convent and the church of Saint-Onuphre to visit the bedroom and the tomb of Tasso, to quickly see the superb square courtyard of the Roman chancellery where Rossi was assassinated, the Farnese palace inhabited by the French ambassador to the Quirinal and by our consul, and we return. Our visits with the interpreter are over. Everyone will complete them according to their tastes.
Sunday, 20th. — It is with souls filled with the liveliest emotion that we return from the audience of the Holy Father. What precious moments we spent during that unforgettable morning of November 20, 1887!
At 7:1 a.m., we were all in the pontifical chapel. Our lords of Coutances, Nantes, Séez and Vannes had taken their place in the sanctuary. When at 2 o'clock Leo XIII made his entrance, we fell on our knees and he blessed us. How beautiful it was to see this holy old man making his preparations in the sanctuary! And when he had climbed the steps of the altar, with what piety he celebrated Holy Mass, and above all with what penetrating unction he recited the prayers which follow it! Yes, it was with tenderness that we, a small part of his flock, heard him recite the Gospel: Nolite timere, pusillus grex. — What fear should we have, when we are leaning on the rock of Saint Peter, and when we are guided by the Pontiff of Rome?
After the thanksgiving mass, the audience begins with the pilgrimage to Coutances. That of Bayeux comes next, and we are followed by pilgrims from Nantes.
Tears come to our eyes thinking of the sweet outpouring with which the Holy Father receives us. He speaks to all of us and not content with allowing us to kiss his foot, he takes our hand, says to each one an entirely paternal word, then we will meet again with his blessing and taking away as a souvenir a medal that he immediately put it back.
In introducing us, Father Révérony had given the Sovereign Pontiff the offering of the diocese, expressing to him the regret that Mgr.r Hugonin for not having been able, because of his health, to come with his diocesan to present to the successor of Peter his homage, that of his Chapter, of the clergy and of all the faithful entrusted to him. In the name of His Greatness, the Vicar General has asked the Holy Father to extend his blessings to the absent who accompany us with their vows, and in particular to all the children who attend Christian schools.
At the sight of Rochet, Leo XIII took it in his hands, examined one after the other the coats of arms of the cities, and turning to those around him, he recommended three times to give this magnificent work of art a place of honor in the Vatican Exhibition, and to set aside a special showcase to house it.
When the parade of ladies and clergy was over, M. Félix Benoît, former magistrate, and president of the Workers' Works, approached the pontifical throne:
"Most Holy Father," he said, "the Workers' Organizations of the city of Caen, of the diocese of Bayeux, have entrusted to me the pious mission and delegated the signal honor of laying at the feet of Your Holiness the modest presents which are the product of the work of the various trades.
Among these humble offerings of Christian industry, our workers beg you, Most Holy Father, to deign to accept the homage of a book printed by the corporation of typographers and dedicated to Your Holiness.
This book contains the report of the state of our Workers' Works and the text of a Conference given in Caen by Mr. Chesnelong, senator, to promote the development of free Catholic schools and corporate institutions established in our Diocese for some time. years.
Our teaching and working organizations unite, prostrate themselves at the feet of Your Holiness and, humbly, they dare to ask for a blessing for their endeavors for their efforts. »
After leafing through the superb volume (this volume comes from the printing presses of Mrs. Widow Domin, it is a masterpiece of typography) offered to him, the Sovereign Pontiff replied that he was particularly, touched by this offering from the workers, and above all by the choice that had been made of a speech by M. Chesnelong; that he blessed the Works and all those who took care of them.
There ends our audience attended by the Bishops of whom we have spoken.
To end this forever memorable day with dignity, Bishop de Coutances brought us all together in the evening in the church of St-Eustache. Wasn't the time propitious to repeat to all of us "what living faith we must have had in such a learned and zealous pontiff — what confidence in his wisdom and his rights — what love for him whose goodness has seemed to us so great, and whose holiness should lead us to good. The Bishop of Séez then gave the blessing of the Blessed Sacrament, in the presence of Bishop Bécel, who had attended this touching meeting.
Only one thing was missing from this morning's ceremony: a beautiful sun to celebrate our entry into the Vatican. The rain did not stop falling until noon. However, consider ourselves happy; all the other days of the week we had relatively good weather, with a little humid heat, but without rain.
Tomorrow we leave for Pompeii and Naples. — The number of those who stay in Rome during these two days is very small. No one stays there because of illness; health is excellent.
Please accept, dear Mr. Director, the assurance of my entire devotion.
Nice, November 28, 1887.
Monday 21. — From today, Monday, we begin to count down the days of our pilgrimage.
Yesterday we were at the top of this holy mountain which leads to the Vatican. We had taken 13 days to climb it, never taking our eyes off this new Tabor. During the 13 days which remain to us, often, in thought, we will refer to it, having been unable, like the Apostles, to fix our tent there.
We are now crossing the country of St. Thomas. We are in Aquin when I begin my report for the day. We don't stop, and a few minutes later, at the foot of Montecassino, we just have time to contemplate the huge monastery of S. Benedict, the beautiful ruins of the amphitheater, the superb landscape that the city presents and the nearby mountains.
The further we go towards the south of Italy, the colder and rainier the weather. Although we are in the land of almond and orange trees, we would think we were on one of the autumn days of our Normandy.
In the pouring rain, we walked for two hours through the very curious streets of Pompeii, visiting the houses, finding here and there the signs and utensils of the various professions of sculptors, bakers, wine merchants, pharmacists of this destroyed city. The columns of the temples and palaces, the numerous and well-preserved frescoes, the comfortable baths or bathrooms, the amphitheater, attest to the opulence of the former inhabitants. The museum which is at the entrance is also curious to see.
Around 3 a.m., the sky begins to clear. Vesuvius sends its smoke in our direction. At this sight, our guide promises us good weather for tomorrow. Is it to comfort us? We prefer to think otherwise and, confident in this prognosis, we head to Napoli.
Tuesday 22. At the beginning of the day, we believed that our cicerone was right. In a heat of 18 degrees we set off at 10 am.
We hardly have to visit anything. After two or three minutes of stopping in front of the royal palace and the church of St-François-de-Paul with its colonnades copied from St-Pierre in Rome and a fairly long ride in the beautiful and shopping street of Rome, made so picturesque by all these carriages with silver or gold buttons, we arrive via various other small streets to the cathedral church of St-Janvier, in ogival style.
All the groups being together, the number of visitors removes much of the interest we might find in quietly venerating the relics of the Saint, and contemplating the chapels or the paintings. It is the same with the monastery of San Martino, so admirably placed on a high hill dominating the whole town.
What a beautiful view we also had as we descended the bends of this mountain! We were enjoying with delight the view of the gulf and the city built like an amphitheater, when the rain made its appearance again. However, it did not prevent us from going to the caves of Pausilippe before the meal which precedes our departure. At midnight we were back in Rome, poorly edified by the cleanliness of the Neapolitans.
Wednesday 23. Our last day in Rome was greeted by radiant sunshine. We had a real summer day with 15 and 16 degrees of heat to do our particular walks. The only general visit was to the Borghese Gallery, so rich in paintings by the great masters.
Free of my time, I wanted to make two pilgrimages dear to every French and Christian heart and which we had been obliged to omit. Several together, we went to the Madonna of the Mountains, to the tomb of Saint B.-J. Labrum and to the room so filled with memories and relics, where he gave back to God the soul he had received from it.
At the beginning of the afternoon, we were, at St-Paul-Trois-Fontaines, received with open arms by one of our compatriots, the good Father Ernest, better known to the people of Caen under the name of Liégard. He himself made himself our cicerone at the three sanctuaries of the abbey: at Scala Coeli, where Saint Bernard saw, during Holy Mass the souls in Purgatory ascend to heaven; (there is also the last prison of Saint Paul and the entrance to the catacomb containing the bodies of Saint Zeno and the 10 Christians put to death under Diocletian); — at the church of St-Paul-Trois-Fontaines where the great apostle was beheaded on the milestone left in the same place and at the foot of which three fountains sprang up at the place where his head leapt three times; — finally, at the church of the monastery, so simple in its architecture, but also offering for the veneration of pilgrims the bodies of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius, and the miraculous portrait of the head of the latter, which served to confuse the Iconoclasts at the Second Council of Nicaea performing miracles. After a short visit to the Chapterhouse, once presided over by the famous Abbot of Clairvaux, the old cloister and the refectory, we return to Rome to spend our last evening.
She was charming. We had been invited to spend it with Mgr Marini, secret and intimate chamberlain of the Sovereign Pontiff. Roman artists and a choir of young girls performed several pieces by great masters, and gave us the beginnings of a hymn to the Holy Father, which we greatly applauded.
Until now, Leo XIII had treated us as his favorite children. Before we part, he carries tenderness to the point of spoiling. Not content with sending us his good wishes and a new blessing, he held out a tray of cakes and wine for us at that moment. A thousand thanks be given to him.
As for Bishop Germain, who earned us all this attention and procured so many sweet emotions, we gave him this address covered with all our signatures:
Thursday 24th. — We leave Rome at 0 o'clock in the morning. How many things we have not seen and how many more we would like to see again! But there can be no perfect happiness or complete satisfactions here below; we are leaving in short days for our beautiful country of Normandy.
Our first pilgrimage on the way back was to Assisi, to St-François and to Ste-Claire; we climb by car the picturesque hill on which the city is built, to successively visit the three superimposed churches of the Conventual Fathers and venerate the tomb of St. Francis, the blessing written by his hand and the linens which served him during his last illness, then the veil of the Blessed Virgin and the cross given by S. Louis to S. Bonaventure.
Continuing on foot our ascent, we go to the tomb of the foundress of the Poor Clares. Like St. Catherine of Bologna, it is exposed to the view of visitors; only the shop window that surrounds it prevents contact.
Then retracing our steps, to the church built on the house of St. Francis, we pray in the sanctuary where his room was silent, and crossing a small chapel whose doors are those of the house of the blessed, we come to prostrate ourselves near the cave where his father had locked him up after the vision of Our Lord.
Near the station, the vast Portiuncula church reminds us of the great phases of the life of the holy patriarch: his vision of N. -D. of the Angels, in the small chapel preserved under the dome of the new one, his temptation in the plan of rosebushes still preserved, his death in the room also placed in the church.
From an architectural point of view, the most remarkable of these various sanctuaries is unquestionably the first basilica, in a beautiful XNUMXth century style, with frescoes on the walls, recalling the entire life of Saint Francis. A final memory is attached to it: there is the pulpit in which Saint Bernardin of Siena preached.
All moved by these memories, we get back on the train, only to arrive in Florence at 9 am Dinner awaits us and then it is time to take a well-deserved rest.
Friday, 25th. — Despite the detestable weather, Florence the beautiful seems to us, compared to the other towns of Italy, to justify its name. Its appearance of cleanliness, its well-paved streets, its sidewalks, the good behavior you are inhabitants make on all our minds a contrast that no one can help noticing.
As always, visiting churches occupies the greatest place in the different stations of the trip. It's no longer the same style that we encounter. The ogive appealed more to the Florentines. Except for the Annunciation, the marbles and the gilding are relegated to the background. The whole thing is more severe and closer to our beautiful Norman Gothic churches. Thus at Santa-Maria-Novella, at the Cathedral and Santa-Croce, the same idea, with significant modifications by the architects. While one, for example the Cathedral, will have vaults like ours, with rose windows to light the nave, Sainte-Croix will allow the beams and rafters of the framework to be seen; the windows of the nave will have lancets. There is another marvel that we only encountered in Florence: these are immense bronze doors of finished work, with admirably represented subjects. In San Lorenzo, they will give us the whole life of Saint Lawrence, in the octagonal baptistery of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the one that Michelangelo called the Gate of Paradise, so much it had struck him, will recall the scenes of the Old Testament , another, the life of the Savior, a third with a superb bronze frame, that of Saint John the Baptist.
Few towns have so many old and well-preserved stained-glass windows. — The four stained glass windows at the bottom of the Cathedral are in glass mosaic of a more recent work.
The effect is striking when you are in front of the portal of this last monument. The richness and variety of its marbles, the mosaics which decorate the facade dazzle the eyes, and give the visitor a sort of disillusionment when he enters the interior as sober as the exterior is brilliant. However, we can help but admire the superb dome of which Michelangelo said: “It is difficult to do as well, it is impossible to do better.” » It is octagonal and immediately precedes the apse. There is no choir.
As memories of the Holy Cross, which is the Pantheon of Florence, we will mention only the monuments erected to Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, Donatello, the famous Florentine sculptor, the tomb of Galileo, and the beautiful marble pulpit of the XIV century.
At San-Lorenzo, the burial place of the Medici, we cannot visit the new sacristy containing their tombs; maybe tomorrow we will be happier. Two magnificent bronze pulpits with sculptures by Donatello, representing the life of Our Lord, are in the church. The windowless portal of this monument is very old. The arcades are semi-circular with flat vaults.
After these visits, and despite the rain, some go to the surroundings of the city to enjoy its panorama, others disperse to the museums. Tomorrow we will talk about it.
Saturday 26th. — The museums of Florence are unquestionably the finest in Italy. We shouldn't have left until 2 am: our morning was devoted to visiting the Uffizi Palace and the Pitti Palace. Impossible to depict all the marvels of painting exhibited in these museums. All the great artists of the nations of Europe are worthily represented there: each school has one or two private rooms.
So it is still at the Academy of Fine Arts, which several pilgrims have traveled to admire the religious paintings which are in the great majority. Fra Angelico took up residence there, like Raphael, Michelangelo, Veronese, Rubens and a multitude of others at the Pitti Museum.
The national museum, although it is less rich than that of the Vatican, does not fail to be very curious. They complement each other. The magnificent collections of arms, pottery, ivory and tapestries would require a much longer study than we have been able to devote to them.
Our last visit was for the Medici Chapel and the tombs sculpted by Michelangelo. These have remained unfinished, but the first enjoys a reputation that has justly earned it the richness and variety of its marbles.
Leaving Florence, the horizon that has developed in the eyes of those who have not been able to go to the favorite Promenade of the Florentines and to Michelangelo Square, has made them forget their grief a little.
At 4:XNUMX we were in Pisa, having just time to cross the city on foot or by tram to get a feel for it. The impression was not bad. As this evening all the pilgrims from Bayeux were staying at the same hotel, we took the opportunity to offer our venerable president, Mr. Révérony, a small souvenir of our pilgrimage. By presenting him with a mosaic representing Saint Peter of Rome, Mr. President Hain acted as the interpreter of all r. our feelings of deep gratitude. After responding with the simplicity, relevance and heart that characterize him, Mr. the Dean raised a toast to the Supreme Pontiff, to the Bishop of Bayeux, to all those present, to their families and to their parishes, and we parted happy with this union of minds and hearts which has never ceased to animate us all.
Sunday 27. — Yesterday and today we had two magnificent summer days. — The very clear weather allowed us to enjoy a superb view from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Monsignor de Coutances celebrated Holy Mass at the cathedral, the most beautiful religious monument we have encountered with Saint Peter in Rome and the cathedrals of Milan and Venice.
Located at the end of the town opposite the station, along the fortifications, it forms with the baptistery which is opposite the portal and the famous Campanile placed in the apse, a very remarkable whole for the harmony which reigns in style and proportions. Let us only point out at the baptistery the XNUMXth century pulpit by Nicholas of Pisa, and at the cathedral, the magnificent bronze doors, the mosaics of the apses, the altar, the marquetry of the stalls, the numerous bronzes by J. of Bologna and the paintings by Andrea del Sarto, finally the finely carved marble steps of the pulpit.
Very close to these monuments, the Campo Santo, consecrated by the Pisans to the great men of their city, is more remarkable for its galleries, themselves so elegant, than for the paintings, very deteriorated, and the tombs or the statues placed on the along the gates.
The Arno, which crosses the town, was flowing at full banks yesterday; this morning it was lower. Certain campaigns were however still covered with water when we crossed them to reach Genoa. For nearly two months, it seems, the rain had not stopped falling.
What a singular train journey we made this afternoon, from La Spezia to Genoa! For more than two hours, we kept going from one tunnel under another, with short and charming glimpses of the Mediterranean. However, they are far from equaling those of Switzerland, and from procuring the same emotions.
Finally, to end my story for the day, the impression that remains of the way of sanctifying Sunday in Italy is this: our French and Bayeu offices are infinitely more oriented towards piety and meditation and are also frequented, neither are they. On the other hand, we noticed - fewer workers, and above all a greater sobriety than in our country of Normandy.
Monday 28th. — The two great curiosities of Genoa are the Campo-Santo and the Promenade de la Circonvallation. We could not fail to make our pilgrimage to the first, to realize its reputation. Assuredly, it is deserved; the statuary spreads out there in all its beauty. But isn't there a bit of ostentation in wanting to be tucked away under these galleries which call for superb mausoleums? The simplicity which disperses the magnificent funeral monuments in Milan across the cemetery seems to me to bear the stamp of a truer sorrow.
The cathedral is nothing remarkable, any more than the other churches. There are many beautiful palaces. The rue de Rome, the Mancini gallery, the place Victor-Emmanuel, are interesting to see, but it is with greater satisfaction than from the top of the courtyards which dominate the city, we contemplate the city and the many ships piled up in its port.
In all these Promenades time passes rapidly; we only have time to return to our hotels to take our luggage and leave.
The same series of tunnels awaits us, much to the despair of readers and writers. However, the longer and more numerous clearings on the mountains and the villages with their high bell towers and uniformly crowned with domes, give us greater enjoyment than yesterday. The orange trees covered with their fruits, the olive trees with their greenery adorn the countryside. To the left of the line, the azure sea, the boats, the sailboats coming to shelter in the numerous small ports along the coast that we cross are a magnificent sight.
At 4:XNUMX we were in France. Customs inspected our luggage in Ventimiglia and we headed to Nice.
Between these two stations, the beach, which we did not leave for a single moment, had a magical aspect. All those lights that were layered along the hills or on the seaside in Menton, Monte Carlo, Monaco, were charming to see. While leaving this last station, an accident which could have had more serious consequences, happened to the ticket controller. As he passed from one compartment to another, the train moving, the door he was in opened and closed suddenly, and broke his arm.
By a superb evening and a magnificent moonlight, we walked through the city with its quays and its boulevards. If all the amenities imaginable sufficed to restore health to the sick who come to stay there in winter, there would be no bereavement in families, for it is a real paradise of delights. Tomorrow morning, we will leave from there at 7 o'clock.
As we will be back almost at the time when these lines will appear, it is useless to continue further a correspondence which could only be of interest by the distance of the people known or loved who were part of this distant pilgrimage. They will be able to complete orally the information that I have certainly omitted in large numbers. I made a summary of my impressions, they recorded theirs. By comparing them, a greater light will spring up in their minds, and will allow them to better understand than I did, to the people around them, the joys of a journey so rich in memories and so consoling for every soul. Christian.
I will end, dear Mr. Director, by pointing out to you a rumor circulating in the train: Father Révérony has been named canon of the basilica of Lorette.
Tomorrow we will be in Marseilles. On Wednesday, we will pray to Our Lady of Fourvières, in Lyon, to bless us and to bless France. After a very short stay in Paris, we will return to our family on Saturday.
While waiting for the pleasure of seeing you again, I ask you, dear Mr. Director, to always believe me entirely yours in mind and heart,
L. Huet, Vicar of Saint-Étienne of Caen.
A last echo of the pilgrimage from Bayeux to Rome
I thought I had finished my story of the pilgrimage by setting foot on French soil. Some benevolent complaints asked me to continue it until our final separation. I will do so briefly, after a correction and two answers to questions asked by people unfamiliar with the pilgrimage.
First of all, it is wrong that the title of saint was given, in the second letter, to Françoise of Rimini. The immortality for which it is partly indebted to Dante's poem and Silvio Pellico's tragedy is more than enough for it.
Someone then asked us if it was possible for the 70 or 80 priests of the pilgrimage to celebrate Holy Mass every day? — When travelling, when the departure wasn't too early, they've always had this happiness. In Rome, they had every facility to offer the Holy Sacrifice in one of the numerous churches which surrounded the hotels where they had stayed. We said nothing in our letters about those churches in the center of the city which we saw every day and which we did not visit in groups. Of this number are: the Minerva, St-Augustin, St-Sylvestre, Ste-Marie in Aquiro, etc... The Pantheon was also one of the monuments in front of which we often passed. Almost all have also gone, at least once, to celebrate Mass at St. Peter's, and in the most honored sanctuaries, such as the tombs or rooms of S. Ignatius, of S. Louis de Gonzague, of SB - J. Labre, Blessed Berchmans, etc.
The last question that was put to us is this: In what state are the bodies of S. Charles, of St. Catherine, of St. Clare, of Blessed Crispini, whom you have contemplated? — With the exception of the latter, who died a century and a half ago and whose flesh has kept its whiteness, the others are a little mummified, almost black in color. Alone, as we have already said, the Ste Bolonaise bears a white spot on her face, at the place where the divine Child Jesus gave her a kiss.
Let us now hasten to finish the story of our pilgrimage.
We did not expect to find more charming shores than those of the lakes of Switzerland. The bay of Antibes, the city of Cannes and the other winter resorts staggered from Nice to Fréjus on the shores of the Mediterranean, would have given us such great satisfaction, if we had not been a little bored with the wonders of nature. However, the enjoyment was great.
In Marseille, an appointment was given to us for 3 hours and a half at Notre-Dame de la Garde. By an uphill, rocky, difficult path, making short stops to rest and enjoy the splendid panorama of the city, we reach the blessed sanctuary.
May the Virgin keep us, as its title indicates; may she guard Our Supreme Pontiff, the Church, France with its glories and its character, Normandy with its traditions of faith, such was the address of His Majesty Mgr Germain, before the solemn blessing of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Supported and protected by Her whom we salute in our different dioceses under the name of Our Lady. of La Délivrande, of N.-D.-sur-Vire and of the Immaculate Conception, our life will be holy, our path without pitfalls, Jesus will be our share in time and in eternity.
La Cannebière was in all its glory when we came back down from the hill. Faithful to their tradition, the Marseillais cluttered the streets and the vast sidewalks, enjoying alone in the city the privilege of electric lighting. ..
From 6 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, we left Marseilles in weather as sad as almost all the countries we have crossed. The Palace of the Popes in Avignon and the castle of King René in Tarascon, are the two main curiosities that we saw while passing on the train.
For the last time, the pilgrims of Bayeux found themselves gathered, in the evening, at the grand Hôtel Continental Collet, to share their fraternal feasts and take their rest. The time had come to express our sincere gratitude to Father Legoux, Vicar General of Coutances, who had devoted himself entirely to organizing the pilgrimage for several months.
It is therefore to the applause of all that Father Révérony reads to us the Address that we must all sign, and from which I will detach only one sentence summarizing our thoughts:
"Permit the pilgrims of the diocese of Bayeux, Sir and venerable Director, to tell you that among the souvenirs of pilgrimage in which Monseigneur de Coutances gave them such a gracious welcome, they will keep as one of the most precious, that of the amiable as well as indefatigable devotion, of the delicate as well as generous zeal which procured them such ravishing, such pious pleasures. "May God preserve for you for a long time the forces so amply spent for his glory!..."
All that remained was to sing the Magnificat of thanksgiving. It was in Fourvières that the Bishop of Coutances, borrowing the words of the Virgin Mary, glorified God for the special assistance he had never ceased to grant us. Glory to God who has led us as if by the hand, from the Church of the Sacred Heart to the tombs of S. Charles and S. Ambrose in Milan, to S. Mark of Venice, to S. Anthony of Padua, then to the feet of St. Catherine of Bologna, finally in this blessed house of Loreto, witness to the Incarnation of the Word! — Glory to God, allowing us to explore the Eternal City, its sanctuaries, its Colosseum, its Catacombs, and to prostrate ourselves at the feet of the Pontiff who reigns in the Vatican! — Finally, glory to God who from Rome reunites us in Fourvières after having venerated S. Francis and St. Catherine, St. Madeleine and the Virgin of the Guard! Recognition and love; let us be Christians and Catholics: everything is summed up in these words.
After being admitted to visit the new chapel of Fourvières and the crypt whose sculptures and paintings already hint at the future magnificence, we take the funicular railway back to the city.
Why must time be so short, and prevent us from going to the pilgrimages so dear to the Lyonnais: to St-Irénée, St-Pothin and Ste-Blandine! The only memories that will remain engraved in our mind from our visit to Lyon will be, with the splendid panorama of the city, the Cathedral, Place Bellecour and two or three beautiful streets that we had the opportunity to cross.
Around 10:6 a.m., we set off for Paris. The beautiful plains fertilized by the Saône, the most renowned vineyards of Burgundy follow one another quickly in our eyes. We go through stations and towns; at half past six we dined at Tonnerre's buffet; around 1 am, we finally arrive in Paris.
From this moment, the dispersion of the pilgrims begins. Some, more eager to return, leave on Friday. The others await the departure of the group scheduled for Saturday morning to benefit from the reduction promised by the West Company, and to satisfy their piety. — On Friday morning, without the order having been given, a large part of the priests and lay people of the pilgrimage met at the feet of the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre: the first to celebrate the Holy Mass there, the latter to commune there, all to give themselves to Jesus and entrust to him their dearest interests.
How many, in the afternoon, did not also come to Notre-Dame des Victoires! As at the two previous sanctuaries of the Blessed Virgin, we were not all together there, but we formed a guard of honor for her, changing from hour to hour. May we always be his good and loyal servants!
Today Saturday, the express train from Paris returned all the pilgrims to their parishes or their families. For a month, they had been separated from it to live a new life, and to pitch their tent here and there, like the patriarchs in the past, where their soul could find some nourishment to revive its faith. The time has come for rest. Back home, the 125 pilgrims from Coutances, the 73 from Bayeux will never forget the happy moments spent in these days which passed so quickly. The heart, the mind and the memory will always preserve in their memories the freshness and sweetness of first impressions. This is at least the dream, which in closing, we take pleasure in cherishing.
L. Huet, Vicar of Saint-Étienne of Caen.