On Wednesday, November 9, during the pope’s general audience, Elisabeth and Madeleine’s joy was immense. The two young French women proudly carried a sign announcing the end of their pilgrimage on the Way of Saint Francis, 1,500 kilometers (more than 900 miles) from the French city of Lyon to Rome. They were very happy, because they were sure that the pope saw their sign and congratulated them from afar with a thumbs up!
This was a special moment for them, especially since the two 23-year-old friends had decided to make this pilgrimage to pray for the pope and for vocations. They left Lyon on September 12 and arrived in Rome after taking a week’s break in Assisi, where they stopped to get closer to St. Francis.
The two friends, who met in high school, had long wanted to make a spiritual journey together.
“Since we had just finished our studies, it was the right time to go,” they told Aleteia, sitting in a Roman café a few hours after the papal audience. “At first we thought of the Way to Compostela, but then we thought that the Way to Rome was less used,” say the women, who were carrying tents and sleeping bags on their backs.
“Every evening, we knocked at someone’s door to ask for a piece of land to pitch our tent. The ways we were received were diverse and so varied,” they recall. “We met all kinds of people: young people, retired people, families, single people, and although we don’t speak Italian, we were never bothered by the language barrier.”
In fact, it was in Italy that they walked the most. “Barely 10 days after our departure, we were already at the border,” says Madeleine. The young women walked and prayed for a little less than two months. “Every morning, we read the Gospel of the day and recited the prayer of consecration to the Virgin Mary, then during the day, we always prayed a Rosary for the pope and vocations. When we arrived in Italy, it wasn’t uncommon for us to go to Mass in the morning, as there were many churches on our route,” explains Elisabeth.
Having arrived safely and having let the pope know that they’d prayed a lot for him, the two friends were planning to stay in Rome for another week. Then they were heading back to Lyon – this time by bus – where each of them will start working, one as an engineer and the other as a psychologist.
Seeing their smiles, their friendship and their joy, we can say that their future employers are lucky and could be inspired by their efficient communication technique!