On our third day we were most grateful to Peter, our innkeeper who drove us to St Flour for a small fee. We arrived to find that the tourism office was closed. We bought our train tickets for the trip back to Le Puy for the mid-afternoon and then set off to find information about our sisters. What better place to ask than at the building with the sign, Institute St Joseph. This is a school that was founded by our sisters. One sister volunteers there now. The lay principal was very happy to connect us with the sisters and provide guidance on how to get around and what to see in St Flour. So happily we set off to meet with Sr. Therese. She kept our backpacks for the morning, provided wonderful welcome and all the additional advice we needed. She insisted that we come back around 1pm to meet the other two Sisters of St Joseph in St Flour.
The hike up to the old city was steep. Interestingly, this was the only day that we three were sore from the hiking- perhaps it’s that we didn’t have our hiking poles with us. Along the way up the hill, there are stations of the cross. We were mindful of the people that we had carried in our hearts as we ascended to our final destination. As we entered the Cathedral where we knew the first community of St Joseph had worshipped, we were overwhelmed. The time spent there was very powerful.
As we descended into the modern city, we were pensive. Little did we know what lay ahead. As we stopped by to visit with our three St Flour sisters, we were overwhelmed when they pulled out a piece that I had written about Sr. Griselda, translated into French. With our limited communications skills, we learned about these sisters. One had a relationship with one of the sisters who had worked at the United Nations. As we tried to guess who it was, Sr. Raymond revealed that this sister, while working in the archives in France, had written a poem which she had given to Sr. Raymond. With tears in her eyes, Sr. Griselda shared that Sr. Mary Alban had given the same poem to her. We then shared memories of Sr. Mary Alban of Canada who had died during the previous week.
There were so many ways that we felt the international connections and the power of our history as Sisters of St Joseph which all started here in St Flour. We were glad to have found our way to St Flour.