Today was our last Sunday in Ambialet, meaning that it was the last time I'll have contact with the villagers until I next return to Southern France. I am sorry to report that Pere [Fr.] Jeamme had a minor stroke earlier this week, so there was nobody to perform Mass this morning. When I first introduced myself to Pere Jeamme back in September, he somehow repeated my name as Madeline. I've earned a couple nicknames that have stuck over the years...I answer to Mel most frequently (it always catches on without my even telling people to call me that) and smile when Alek calls me Mellie, but Madeline seems a bit further off. To this day, I'm not sure how the man derived "Madeline" from Melanie, but it was a nickname I gladly adopted considering how cute I think the cartoon is.
Nevertheless, it's a very sad thing to say hello to such a sweet someone one week and then just seven days later know that they're in poor health. Though we greatly missed Pere Jeamme today, Peter and Margaret did a lovely job in leading the small congregation in a little Sunday service of our own. The townspeople took turns with today's readings and we were still able to sing the hymns we learned on Friday. As a farewell to the villagers, Saint Francis students sang "Canticle of the Sun" and "On Eagles Wings." Dr. Woods, Dr. Lynch and Debbie watched on from the audience as we gave our little performance, making me feel like they were my older sister and parents at the 5th grade choral concert! It was certainly a special morning and something I'll miss in a week from now for sure.
A group shot of today's congregation on the front steps of the church.