A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Saturday, 15 November 2008


I chickened out of slogging through the industrialised, western suburbs of Toulouse and took a train to Pibrac. It was Sunday 28 September. After the noisy exuberance of Toulouse it was really nice to return to some provincial peace and quiet once again. This is the 16th century red-brick church:

And this the neo-Byzantine Basilica of Saint-Germaine:

Sainte-Germaine was born in 1579 - into a rich Pibrac family. The story goes that her life was full of suffering. After losing her mother early in life, she was forced to undergo cruelties at the hands of a new stepmother. Becoming a simple shepherdess, she led an austere existence. She also had a problem with her right hand and was unable to use it properly. She died in 1601 at the very young age of 22 and was buried in the churchyard. But 40 years later her body was exhumed - and apparently it was completely intact. This was the start of a whole chain of miraculous events which dumbfounded Pibrac. And many years later, in 1867, Germaine was canonised.

These are 2 photos of the sanctuary of Saint-Germaine just beyond Pibrac. It's situated in a delightfully tranquil spot near water meadows and at the edge of some extensive oak woods. There was a little notebook and pencil within the sanctuary, so I scribbled down a prayer for the world, and beseeched Saint-Germaine to look after me and my family, and then walked on into the huge forest of Bouconne ...

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