The last few days have been very busy so we’re a bit behind on our daily updates! This year, we’ve been joined by a group from Xaverian College in Manchester. They followed a different itinerary to Dunkeld on Monday, and Tia has written about it for us:
The day had come where we finally had the chance to escape from the Dunkeld Diocese (just kidding, we love you all!). We started Monday morning in our favourite place, the Accueil, with the bright and bubbly faces of Dunkeld and the pilgrims, getting ready for morning Mass. It is always amazing to see how people come together to help one another and we can all agree that it is an awe inspiring sight to see so many people laughing and smiling no matter their age, gender or where they were from (even if it was still very early in the morning!). The Mass that morning was held in the St Joseph’s Church in the domain, and what struck us most was the unity and radiance of us all singing as one community. It will be something we will remember for many a year, even if most of the Xaverian gang sang off key! We followed on the day by getting on a coach and getting a cable car to the top of the mountain – Pic du Jer. Nerissa decided it would be the best option to carry a guitar up this mountain – to this day we do not know if it was out of sheer resilience that she got up the mountain carrying this guitar or just luck that she didn’t pass out. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular. You could see the vast nooks and crannies of God’s intricate design and with eagles swooping and soaring around us it was as if time stood still – a picturesque moment if there ever was one.
Thirty minutes later and we were moving again, sat in the cable car waiting for it to descend we anxiously look out the windows. Talia imagines it to be a rollercoaster, flying down the mountain at incredible speeds whilst someone in our group stares with wide, scared eyes as they have a fear of falling; we reach the bottom and speed away towards the lake, towards plenty of mischief, swimming and sunbathing.
The most memorable moment for us was when we were in kayaks and Jack fell into the water so I shouted “Don’t let go Jack!” as a reference to the Titanic movie and it was as if karma had struck me as the next thing I knew was I was in the water having capsized myself! Meanwhile, the land dwellers had bought ice cream from the local shop which was more whipped cream than ice cream. The lovely café worker taught us some French and in return we taught him English, we both know how to say ‘raspberry’ in our respective languages now!
We eventually dried off and headed back to the hotel for dinner. That night we had a reflection on the past week and wrote ourselves letters that only we will re-read in the near future. They will be sent to us after we finish college to reflect on. We all had an amazing time with Dunkeld and had a lot to reflect on for the past week. 10 minutes wasn’t nearly enough to write what we needed to write but we held it in our hearts either way. The night ended with the lighting of candles for loved ones and whoever needs it the most. Later on an intense game of Uno unfolded, which could rival the greatest battle between teenagers (Penny always wins!).
We had a great day out, however we all were looking forward to working alongside the lovely people of Dunkeld again, as it was our time spent with them, that truly made us happy during our time in Lourdes.
We want to give a heartfelt thank you to the amazing people of Dunkeld for accommodating us on our journey and being such an amazing group of people. It is really special what you all have together. Thank you for sharing a part of yourselves with us, sharing your warmth and sharing your kindness. We were all overwhelmed with the welcome you gave us and we quickly felt part of the group, rather than ‘outsiders’. You helped make our time here an wonderful and fulfilling experience and I know many in our group are determined to come next year just to see all the lovely faces again (If you’ll have us!) It was an absolute pleasure being here with you all. Enjoy the rest of your time in Lourdes and have a safe journey to Écosse.
God bless you all.
From Tia and all from Xaverian College, Manchester. Xxxx