Day 9: This was another wonderful day! We started off going to the adorable hilltop medieval village of Perouges where many scenes from the film Monsieur Vincent were filmed. It was absolutelyunreal that it's a functioning town. It looked fake it was so lovely. We all really enjoyed walking around and looking at the very old church. Next we went to Chatillon-sur-Chalaronne which has a church where Vincent was pastor and he formed the mission here. We got off the bus and one of the Daughters of Charity was there to greet us. Father Ed said this was a new development and that we should just go with it. She
took us to the home that Vincent stayed at and that now the Daughters in that area stay. It was in this town that he worked with the sick and he realized what he can do on a larger scale with the Gaundis at more parishes around the country. We watched a video in the room that Vincent stayed, got to walk up the same very steps that he did and look at some items they have collected there. The Daughter spoke in French and Father Ed translated and for some reason I was incredibly moved. I teared up! It was just such an amazing experience being in that room and interacting with this woman that has given her life to live Vincent's mission! At this point, I knew exactly why this trip was so important and what it would mean to me. After our time at the churchwe had some time to walk aroundand shop and look at all the gorgeous flowers. We had a great group lunch together and then we returned to Lyon. I decided to enjoy some alone time before our dinner cruise. I checked out the cathedral and some shops by myself and then went for a run by the river. I was practically bursting to do something active and it felt great to run in the beautiful scenery and blend in with the people that lived there. Then we had our dinner cruise with the whole group which was a great experience. Lyon was one of my favorite stops. The vibe reminded me of home.
Day 10: We drove to Tournous and made a stop at a Romanesque Church which
was incredibly different from all the other churches we visited. There were interesting medieval frescoes and a cool crypt. I walked th rough a free exhibit and looked in
some shops before we took off. Next stop was Beaune which is a major wine city. It's very small and cute. I went off with a fewfolks for our independent lunch and got another delicious quiche and a sweet treat and we ate it in a park before we went off exploring. We eventually went our own ways and I stopped in a church that had medieval tapestries and I found a couple of good gifts to bring back home. Then the group met up and visited a hospital that was like the ones that Vincent worked in. After that we got to go to a wine tasting which was really fun! The wine cellar was like a maze and some of us even got lost. We tried all sorts of wines and I picked one to bring back home to share with my family. Later on we went out to dinner at a restaurant that was a in a 13th century cavern. It was very cool and we had a delicious meal of chicken in a creamy cheese sauce with mashed potatoes. So wonderful!
Day 11: I started getting sad on this day that the trip was coming to a close. I was ready to come home and get back to normal life and see "my people" but I was just enjoying the trip so much I didn't want it to end. We started the day at the AMAZING market in Beaune. it was beautiful and everything just looked so lovely. I bought lots of things here to get rid of my euros! I gota big chunk of cheese and some pretzel bread to eat for dinner later, caramels for rob, more mustard and soap for me. I think I seriously teared up while I was walking through because i just didn't want to go! Then we made a stop at a church that had a 14th century exposed painting that portrayed a "dance with death" relating to the Plague. The church also had an absolutely unbelievable garden that we got to walk thrgouh. Again, I might have teared up. Then we had our closing lunch in an outside restaurant. We had the most unbelievable food! It started with these flakey cheesy pastrythings that i can't even describe. Then we had a caprese salad that was perfection. Then we had beef bourguignon. To die for! and on top of that there was a cheese course that just blew my mind. probably the best thing i ate the whole trip. and it ended with an almond stick and sugared fruit cup. After lunch we went to Joigny to see some final Vincent sites like the Gaundi Chateau. Then we went to the airport hotel in Paris. I ate my cheese and pretzel bread and we all played cards till late. It was nice to end the trip all together. The next morning we went to the airport and we were on our way!
It's hard to explain the impact that this trip had on me. I'm so passionate about DePaul and this just furthered my connection to the university. It also changed my understanding of the mission. Being able to see and experience where it all started, really made me think deeply about what it means to be Vincentian. The idea that we must not just do things but do them well really stuck with me and I can really apply that to my work and everyday life. Overall, i feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience this and connect with so many people throughout the university. Now I'm ready for my next trip!