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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien -- Second Day

(I am going by my code name, Madame Beaubien, because it sounds more French than my name. Besides, I like being called Madame!)

Here are the sisters that I am staying with this week in LePuy. Left to right is Sr. Line (pronounced Lynn) from Maine, Sr. Patty from St. Louis, Sr. Anita from way south in Brazil and Sr. Eluiza from Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

We had a delicious main meal at 1 p.m. today that included meat balls, pasta with tomatoes, green beans (haricots verts in English and in French) and baguette. 

For the second course we had cheese (le fromage), cake (du gateau), fruit, and finally, coffee or tea. Of course, we had red wine with our meal. Eluiza was our cook.

This is a photo of the International Centre of the Sisters of St. Joseph. There are members of the community foundation in this area of France (Le Puy and Chambery) that are missioned all over the world. The Centre is one place where they can come for programs and retreats--at the source of their creation.
 There are 21 rooms at the Centre. Here is mine.

It's been a little difficult at first to adjust to such small places after living in a condo with 3 floors, but I'll adjust. Below is a view from the window in my room. I have to keep the drapes closed when I'm on the computer because the sun makes it difficult to see the screen. I also learned today that the sun is out almost every day. Coming from one of the cloudiest places on earth (due to the lake effect), I appreciate the sun, but will have to adjust to it when I'm on the computer.

Here's another view from my window of the two extinct volcanoes where they built a cathedral on the top of each one. The statue is the Blessed Mother holding the Baby Jesus. There is a garden in the cathedral where pilgrims who make the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James) begin their journey. They meet together informally and are given a glass of wine for good luck. Nice touch.

The Camino is a centuries-old walking pilgrimage across the top of Spain, although you can start from Lisbon, Portugal, or from Seville, Spain, both southern routes leading to Santiago de Compostela. Even popes have walked the trail. The route is marked by a shell.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien -- Regardez la Niege

(I am going by my code name, Madame Beaubien, because it sounds more French than my name. Besides, I like being called Madame!)

We had snow (la niege) today, which is rather unusual for LePuy even in the winter. Nevertheless, you can see that it didn't stick. Now this is my kind of snow!

Les Aventures de "Madame Beaubien" -- Day of Arrival

(I am going by my code name, Madame Beaubien, because it sounds more French than my name. Besides, I like being called Madame!)
the incredible modern Saint Exupery Airport in Lyon

I arrived with my friend, Patty, in France (Paris) Monday, February 27 at 7 a.m. and then flew 50 minutes to Lyon (south central France) in time to take the express train from the airport to the very large Station Part Dieu to pick up the SCNF train to LePuy.

Le Station Part Dieu in Lyon
We made all of our connections but were running fast to catch them. When we arrived in LePuy, Sister Line (pronounced Lynn) picked us up.

We were greeted by Sisters Line, Eluiza and Anita, who live here now.

They treated us to a delicious lunch of salad and quiche at 3 p.m. when we arrived and then at 630 had our main meal of chicken, mixed vegetables, potatoes, cheese, wine and cookies.

We're very tired now but I wanted to let you know I arrived safely--and I'm speaking French!!

Tuesday is a free day to recover from jet lag--and to celebrate the Mardi Gras--the last day before the start of Lent.  
Next Monday Patty and I go to Lyon (2.5 hours by train) to start French classes for 4 weeks. We will stay with sisters but in different convents. My convent is a 31-minute walk to the school while Patty's is a 50-minute walk. There is also a bus to take.

The climate here is moderate and there is no snow on the ground. The temperature is about 45 degrees. That's my kind of winter!!. There are cold crops growing in gardens and although the trees are not yet in bloom, some of the ground is green already--even pansies have been planted! They tell me that it doesn't usually snow in the winter but it gets cold.

Olga (a.k.a. Madame Beaubien)