I won’t hide it from you, I’m so excited for Chartres!! Yes, I have forgotten all the pain from last year (to be fair, I was not wearing a cassock or a habit like the priests and religious!). All I remember is that amazing feeling when we got to Chartres and we were in mass and everything was perfect and the choir and all the priests and the lace and receiving Communion and the Cathedral was packed! Pure bliss!
I have been looking forward to this for so long and now it’s almost here! I received an e-mail from the organisers with a little booklet that listed the priests for the St Alban (Juventutem) and Our Lady of Walsingham chapters (the two chapters which make up the British group) and let me tell you, I am looking forward to it even more. Yep, we are going to get a lot of great spiritual direction from these holy priests (I will write more about this after the pilgrimage).
Last year it rained a lot during the first evening and that was tough (even though my friend, Hannah, and I were killing ourselves laughing about it afterwards. Honestly, it was so bad, it was funny). I remember when we were walking up this big hill to get to the campsite on the first day, I was carrying one of the banners and wearing this pac-a-mac from Topshop (useless, in case you hadn’t guessed). As I was holding the banner, my arms were sort of facing upwards. Then, when we got there, I put the banner down and a flood of water came out of my sleeves! Talk about unprepared. I was slightly better prepared for the LMS Walsingham pilgrimage (that is, I was wearing something that was sold as a waterproof jacket), but to be honest, if it’s going to rain that hard, you just have to put up with it. On the second day, I made a group of us pray a decade of the rosary before we left the campsite to ask God for good weather…and it worked! I do not like the rain…
I have a feeling that this year, it’s going to be HOT. Since I’ve only walked the Chartres pilgrimage once, I don’t know which is harder, but I’m told heat is harder. All I know is, I don’t like going to bed with wet clothes and also I don’t burn very easily, so I have an advantage there.
I am currently scouring websites, looking for suitable t-shirts (even if it’s cold and raining, there will be much sweating involved 🙂 ) and thinking about what other things to take with me. It occurred to me that maybe I could vacuum pack the clothes I want to wear on the way home, after Chartres. I wonder if this has been tried by other people?
It is also so hard to pack for the possibilities of either hot or cold and rainy weather! 😦 Either way, I think I will wear a skirt the whole way. Last year, I just put a skirt over some running leggings when I was in mass. Then, I saw pictures of myself afterwards and I made a promise to myself that I would not do that again. Woah now, that was NOT a pretty sight. Apologies to everyone for that. I think I have body dysmorphia, but the other way around! I think I look alright and then I see photos and I’m mortified!*
Anyway, if anyone reading this is also going, leave me a comment 🙂 The countdown begins!
*By the way, I went on the pilgrimage to West Grinstead the other day and of course Joseph Shaw was there with his wife and children. His wife, Lucy, had her sixth child not long ago and she looks AMAZING. Give her a prize, she is some sort of super woman!