Bonjour…we’ve been running around since our arrival in Paris on Saturday morning.
Wow. There are a lot of churches in Paris. And we’re on a mission to see every one.
Not sure how much I said before about the purpose of this trip. DePaul University was founded by priests from the Congregation of the Mission, also known as Vincentians (because the order was founded by St. Vincent DePaul.) The Vincentians, and the Daughters of Charity, a “sister” (no pun intended) order of nuns founded by St. Louise De Marillac, ministered to the poor, sick and orphaned in France and transformed the way France treated the less fortunate. The Vincentian order has always been small, and now they’re numbers are dwindling. Within 20 years, there will be no more Vincentians, so DePaul is sending groups of faculty and staff on these trips as part of an effort to instill the Vincentian values in the university to prepare for the time when there are no more Vincentians. (The way that the Vincentian mission translates to a university is in providing access to an excellent education to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.)
Things I’ve done so far:
1. Eaten a lot
(This is a photo of me with Marie Donovan, our interim dean of the School of Education. The photo would suggest that we’re drinking a LOT of water on this trip, but we’re actually eating food and drinking wine as well.)
2. Gone to a Gregorian mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.
3. Gone to Saint-Chapelle to see the amazingly beautiful stained glass windows.
(This photo doesn’t do it justice, mainly because I’m a lousy photographer.)
4. Gone to the largest flea market in Paris (disappointing.)
5. Gone to dinner last night at the home of Jim Haynes, an American who has lived in Paris for 30 years and hosts a dinner for up to 50 people in his home every Sunday night. It was nothing like I expected it to be – it’s a small apartment, so we were elbow-to-elbow. But we met interesting people, mostly other Americans and Brits.
6. Had an hours-long bus tour of the city of Paris.
7. Posed for many pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. (Our hotel is right next to it.)
(Me with my colleague, Denise Mattson.)
The high point of the trip for me so far was today at the Church of St. Laurent. While we were touring the church, the organist and trumpeter were practicing. The acoustics were magnificent, and it was so beautiful it gave me goose bumps.
Things I haven’t done:
1. Slept very much.
2. Gone running (that’s on the agenda for tomorrow morning, as we’re starting later.) I didn’t bring proper clothing to go running along the Seine, so we’ll see how warm it is. I may wimp out and go to the fitness center in the hotel.
Gotta run…off to eat again!