On our Catholic Pilgrimage to France program, students will explore the history of Catholicism through France with stops in Lyon, Paris and Lourdes to visit chapels and basilicas, including the beautiful Sacre Coeur in Paris. Our Catholic Pilgrimage to France program is designed to allow students the chance to learn and worship, with ample time provided for personal prayer and reflection.
Fly OutWe will enjoy full meal service on our wide-bodied scheduled flight from North America to Paris.
Day2Arrive Lyon – Ars – Paray-Le-Monial
Arrive in FranceWelcome to France! We will meet our WorldStrides Tour Director at the Airport in Paris for assistance with our connecting flight to Lyon. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our private coach and begin our amazing religious travel experience.
Basilica & House of St. John VianneyWe will celebrate Mass in the Basilica, and afterwards see the House of St. John Vianney, which has been kept exactly as it was when he lived there. Among the many items of interest are the saint's well-used rosary, breviary, and the bed that was set on fire by the devil. Ample time will be provided for personal prayer and reflection at the altar where St. John Vianney’s incorrupt body is enshrined for veneration by the faithful.
St. John Vianney Wax MuseumAfterwards, we will visit the St. John Vianney Wax Museum, which presents the life of this intriguing saint in seventeen scenes.
Paray-le-MonialIn the afternoon, we will continue on to Paray-le Monial and the Shrine of the Sacred Heart. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was chosen by Christ to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart, which has become one of the most popular and well-beloved devotions of the Church. Her spiritual director, St. Claude de la Colombiere, assisted her in this crucial mission. As a result, the insidious heresy of the day, Jansenism, was defeated.
Visitation ChapelWe continue to the Visitation Chapel where Christ revealed His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (subject to availability). Afterwards, we will view the diorama depicting scenes from the saint’s life. Ample time will be provided for private prayer before the tombs of St. Margaret Mary and St. Claude. A little-known fact is that in 1689 Our Lord requested that France be consecrated to His Sacred Heart, promising that if the king would honor His Sacred Heart, then the country would have His blessing and be protected from all enemies. St. Margaret Mary made this request known to the proud and arrogant Sun King, Louis XIV, who refused to comply. Exactly one hundred years later, the nation would be in the grip of the terror of the Revolution, with bloodshed such as the world had never seen before.
Day3Paray-Le-Monial – Nevers – Paris
Nevers Orientation TourOur day starts with breakfast before we begin our travel to Paris. Our first stop today is one of special importance for the Church and for our pilgrimage and this is Nevers. . . Upon our arrival, we will enjoy a small orientation tour.
Convent Chapel of Saint Gilard & Tomb of St. BernadetteWe visit Convent Chapel of Saint Gilard to view the Tomb of St. Bernadette, the visionary to the Marian apparition at Lourdes. Her body remains in an incorrupt state and is kept in a glass casket for the faithful to view. She saw our Heavenly Mother 18 times with the first apparition on February 11, 1858 and the last on July 16, 1858. These holy revelations would serve to confirm the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception promulgated in 1854 by Pope Pius IX. We will celebrate Holy Mass in the Convent Chapel (subject to availability).
Day4Day Trip to Lisieux
Mass at the CarmelToday we will study the life and spirituality of “the greatest saint in modern times”. On arrival in the town of Lisieux, we will celebrate Mass at the Carmel where St. Therese not only lived out her “vocation to love” but also wrote the spiritual masterpiece, “Story of a Soul,” under the direction of her prioress and older sister Pauline. The Carmel of Lisieux was not only home to St. Therese, but also three of her sisters and one cousin. Ample time will be provided for private prayer before the reliquary of St. Therese in the chapel.
Convent’s Hall of RelicsAfterwards, we will take an orientation tour and visit places associated with the Little Flower. We will begin our tour in the Convent’s Hall of Relics, which houses many precious items used by the saint in her lifetime, including her original habit.
BuissonetsWe will then visit Buissonets, which is the home of the Martin family and the setting for the first part of “Story of a Soul,” St. Therese’s autobiography. St. Therese’s family life is crucial to understanding her spirituality of “the little way”.
Sacre Coeur (Paris)We will visit Sacre Coeur, the beautiful Byzantine-style Basilica, upon our return to Paris. We will then enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
Day5Paris – High Speed Train – Lourdes
Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous MedalThis morning we will visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on the Rue de Bac. It was in 1830 that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and offered to the world the Miraculous Medal. This medal has the very inscription requested by Our Lady: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Shrine of St. Vincent de PaulThe morning continues with a visit to Shrine of St. Vincent de Paul. Here we will have the opportunity to pray before the early relics of St. Catherine Laboure and St. Vincent de Paul. We will then make our way to the train station for the train into Lourdes.
Train to LourdesAt this point, we will bid farewell to our Tour Manager. Once in Lourdes, Father will take over as tour manager and point person. We will meet our driver at the airport for transfer to our Lourdes hotel. Tonight dinner is at the hotel.
Sacred VisitsThese special days of prayer, visits, and Sacraments are by our own arrangements and under the careful auspices of our Chaplain. We will visit the Grotto, the Boly Mill and the Cachot. There will be time to visit the special baths and to attend the numerous processions held each day at the Shrine. Each evening we will have an opportunity to join pilgrims from around the world in recitation of the Rosary.
Free Day in Lourdes
Day8Departure from Toulouse
Fly HomeToday we will enjoy an early breakfast and an early departure from the Convent for our return flight from Toulouse back to North America.