April 20 - Paris

Day 3 – Paris

There is an aspect of a life of faith best described as serendipity.  The formal definition of serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.  The spiritual aspect would say not by chance but by the hand of God.  We were walking from the church of the Miraculous Medal to the chapel where St Vincent de Paul is interred when I happened to notice the name of a cross street: Rue de L’Abbe Gregoire.  Two of my names?  McNabb is celtic for son of the abbot.  Abbe is French for priest.  Still – it was my street.  Between the two chapels.

The Miraculous Medal was created through the efforts of a young novice at the direction of Mary.  The Medal shows an image of Mary with beams of light extending out from her hands.  The beams represent the graces that Mary offers those who believe.  The presence of the Medal has often been linked to miraculous cures and conversions.

St Vincent de Paul was a French priest with a deep love of the poor, the orphans, the widows, those on the edge of society.  His work inspired Frederick Ozanam to found the St Vincent de Paul Society at a time when many young Parisians felt the church lacked relevancy.  The Society functions worldwide to bring Catholic into contact with their neighbors in need.  While St Vincent’s body is interred at the Vincentian Chapel, his heart is displayed in the church of the Miraculous Medal. 

Abbe Gregoire was a revolutionary leader, an ardent abolitionist, and supporter of universal sufferage.

Was finding a street named after Abbe Gregoire chance or the hand of God?  Is God pointing me to deepen my faith through service to the poor? Or is God addressing my concern for the health of my parents through the intervention of Mary?  Do I have enough confidence to have Mary intercede for me?

Our next substantive visit was to St Steven Parish.  This church honors one of the first deacons.  Stephen appears in the book of Acts.  Soon after being ordained, he was preaching in the streets when he was stoned to death. Among the crowd who stoned him was young Saul who soon after became Paul the Apostle.

We ended the day at Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, where, of all the stained glass and statuary, the image that stood out most clearly for me was that of the sacred heart.


What does this all mean?  Where is god leading me?


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Pilgrimage to France and Spain

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