After I walked through the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to offer all of the worries and prayers that are on my heart. We once again were seated for dinner together. The food and drink were incredible. The fellowship and warmth of our flock of pilgrims was resounding throughout the land. Many more rounds of Happy birthday were sung to me throughout dessert, I was truly moved to laughter and tears. As we left the restaurant and happily walked the streets and square of Montmartre, many more spontaneous songs of happy birthday were sung by my pilgrim friends rejoicing in our hearts for life and love for one another. In the square many people joined in song, both visitors and waiters from restaurants. That is when another truly amazing moment happened, a family from Costa Rica approached our group. One of the women in the family exclaimed it is my mother’s birthday too! She is 67 and I am 37. Her name is Natalie. Which is one of my grandmother’s names. The connection I felt was unlike anything I have experienced before. We held hands, hugged each other and cried a little as my friends and her family rejoiced in this birthday celebration. It is one of the many moments this week when I truly felt that my heart was open, my worries had melted away and realized with a clear heart and mind that I am able to be present and open to those wonderfully joyful moments with all that were present.

We ended the evening in Montmartre with a view of the full moon over Paris and a partial view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling one last time, before heading back down all of those winding stairs.

I want to thank all of my fellow pilgrims, and Father John for making my birthday, as well as, this entire adventure amazing.

Each one of you will forever be in my heart and my prayers.

Written by Heather Grocke-Saunders