WEDDING JOURNEY FROM FRANCE TO JASNA GÓRA
Meeting between my family and the Le Floch couple was undoubtedly a great gift during this year holiday. Everything began in Wadowice where our friends, with whom we were spending formation holiday of the Movement Communion and Liberation in nearby Zembrzyce, noticed unusual pilgrims and found out that they were travelling on foot from far-away Bretania (that is, western France) to Częstochowa. We did not manage to meet them in Wadowice, but, being moved by the news, we found their blog from the pilgrimage on Internet and a few days later we could meet these humble but unusual people personally, and spend three afternoons with them.
Jean-Jacques and Agnes set off from their home town Plouhined at the Atlantic Ocean on 10 April this year. During nearly four months they walked across France, Germany, the Czech Republic and southern Poland. on August from the top of the ruins of the castle in Olsztyn, where we took them with our son, they finally noticed the purpose of their pilgrimage: in the distance they could see the tower of the Jasna Góra monastery. Next day they were happy to see Our Lady of Częstochowa and bring Her their intentions carried in such an effort.
What is unusual is that the Le FLoch couple declare that they arrived at Jasna Góra not to ask…..they received so much in their life that they could only thank God. They are particularly grateful to God for the gift of their family life, as they are parents of four children and grandparents of thirteen grandchildren. The family is their main source of joy and strength. Agnes worked as a secretary in a catholic school for years, and Jean-Jacques was a head-teacher in an agriculture secondary school – and today, being retired he teaches Breton language, among the others, to his wife, and he is also co-responsible for preparing the liturgy in Breton language in his diocese.
It had not been the first walking long pilgrimage of the Le Foch couple, as they had made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela eight years before, and four years ago – to Rome.
However, the pilgrimage to Częstochowa was not only the longest one, but also the most difficult one for various reasons. In the beginning their pilgrimage to Mary was interrupted by the death of Jean-Jacques’ mother. At that moment they returned home for a few days, then they made an effort of pilgrimage. They hardly met any people on their route not walked by many people….no pilgrims were accompanying them. Monotony, physical tiredness, everyday effort of searching for accommodation – all this sometimes caused discouragement and even doubts, whether their purpose was not too ambitious. Jean-Jacques said in an interview for Jasna Góra Radio: ‘There are two of us. We keep together. We used to hold our hands to walk on. it was a wonderful wedding journey for us’.
Their effort and devotion opened people’s hearts to them. Even 26 times they have been invited home by people, they received food, water, help and received much more than they had expected. Their testimony of faith woke up nostalgia for God in many people, and people offering them simple gestures wanted to participate in their pilgrimage. The unusual pilgrims from French Brittany also brought other people’s intentions to the Queen of Poland.