Series Introduction 2023:
Here is the start of a strange series of posts that appeared at this website in 2010. These entries chronicle my reflections travelling the length of France in a van with my wife Kim—beginning with Lourdes in the South and moving slowly over eight weeks to Pontmain in the North, close to a thousand miles in all. At the time, we were relocating to Britain, but with the hope of eventually returning to Ireland.
This series remains precious to my heart—as my experiences on this trip in hallowed sites like Lourdes, Pontmain and the Vendée proved seminal for my work ever since. Whether these posts will speak to anyone else, though, is a moot point. They are deeply personal, sometimes to the point of being cryptic.
For that reason, I now offer (below) a short, explanatory foreword to each individual post, just in case anyone does care to enter with me into this intimate world of meaning for me.
Likewise, these links are provided to help navigate through this series.
- Chapter 1: France and Lourdes
- Chapter 2: On France and Ireland
- Chapter 3: Our Lady Calls
- Chapter 4: Josephin Péladan and Charles A. Coulombe
- Chapter 5: Recalling Ireland
- Chapter 6: The Enduring Presence of Catholic France
- Chapter 7: Freemasonry and France
- Chapter 8: Liberal No More
- Chapter 9: Liberal Catholicism, Like a Sieve
- Chapter 10: Pyramids on the Nile
- Chapter 11: The Vendée – Home to a Counter-Revolution
- Chapter 12: O Claire Ferchaud!
- Chapter 13: Our Lady of Pontmain
2023 Introduction to Chapter One
Here I just note that we had arrived in Lourdes, after crossing over the Spanish border. At that point we had been living in various places in France and Spain for over four years. And the personal reflections that follow do not simply arise from my time Lourdes—they bear witness to my entire time in France, a time where I had visited many other sacred sites such as Paray-le-Monial which changed my life forever.
At the same time, I was horrified by French secularism and materialism . . . and the sense of being in the desolate ruins of once-great Catholic France.
From 2010—Chapter One: France and Lourdes
You can listen or not.
I don’t care.
But if you do listen, this will be personal, perhaps cryptic.
Sometimes I just need to put forth Fragments and Unfinished Things.
Later on, they can be more fleshed out, elsewhere at this site.
For now, should you care to listen, just know I cannot explain everything. As I travel through (the remnants of Catholic) France, I am just going to put little pieces here …
Just feeling horror …
This dry, dry, dry desert of French Secularism …
Deluged in materialism.
Good taste. No Soul.
To reverse metaphors … La Vraie France. The true France.
Drowned. Drowned in this ocean of Secularism.
With the once great mountains of a pious Catholic culture, still jutting out above the waters as little islands in a dead or dying ocean …
Paray-le-Monial. Ars. The Sacré Coeur de Montmartre – and Lourdes …
We have entered France and have gone to Lourdes in refuge from this soulless civilisation.
It has hit me so powerfully, so very powerfully this time, the arid nature of the materialistic civilisation that replaced Catholic France.
And in Lourdes it is hitting me.
Hitting me: the need to fight the battle that was lost so long ago.
Or was it lost?
The civilisation that honoured the Immaculate Conception, the civilisation that honoured VERTICALITY, the civilisation that created places for the SOUL and built shrines like Lourdes.
You can still feel that extinguished civilisation in Lourdes.
Of course in the silence, you can feel more than that.
You can feel HER.
I was not ready to completely fight for you before, my Lady. Or not ready enough.
But with your healing, I feel ready now.
To fight the Battle that was lost …
Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck
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