a Marian shrine for centuries
Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with you
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners, now
and at the hour of our death.
Le-Puy-en-Velay was the jewel of a place I started walking from,
nestled in the hidden Auvergne,
in an old volcanic crater, with two rock 'needles' reaching for the sky.
Before I left home, Fr Chris Skinner told me of its significance in the history of his Marist order.
And though I am long estranged from church
I still sense some of the mystery
that Mary looks out for me like a mother
and I know that I walked all the way to Santiagounder the protection of the blessing given by the Bishop in the Cathedral of Le Puy.