IVI Pilgrimages

August 10th - August 19th 2010

Nine days in Louisiana

To help our American friends, deeply affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, IVI organized nine-day "itinerancy" in Louisiana, each day being punctuated by a vibrations session near the waters of the Gulf.

LouisianaDaniela, Jean-Philippe, Marie-Jo, Christine and I flew to New Orleans on Tuesday, August 10th. We spent two days in New Orleans in the French Quarter, an area which had been spared by Katrina. The day after our arrival, we drove around the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the hurricane; it was sad to see abandoned houses, planks nailed to the windows... we pray and then drive down to Houma to meet BISCO, an association whose purpose is to help families of fishermen and people who suffer from the consequences of the oil spill. We attend a meeting where some BP representatives are also present and meet the BISCO directors. Sharon introduces us to the audience and explains the reason for our presence; their applause goes straight to our hearts...

We drive back to New Orleans to meet up with Patricia and Lizbeth from IVI Mexico as well as with Bryan who had moved back to New Orleans after the storm.

Along the Gulf, the lake, the swamps and bayous...

August 13th - After a delicious typically Cajun lunch (for dessert, we're hit by cheesecake-fever!),we meet up with four members of IVI-Washington DC and two from Florida, directly at the St. Louis Cathedral. Its stained-glass windows tell the story of St Louis' life: his coronation, crusades and his death in Tunis. A copy of his Bible is exposed, the original being in Toledo, Spain. Each day we hold a vibrations session near water.

bayousAugust 14th - With three people from IVI-St Louis (who had arrived after a 15 hour drive!), one from New Orleans and one from Dallas, we take off for our next appointment - a boat trip excursion on the Bayous. These are bodies of water formed by the Mississippi River's former arms and bends. They extend throughout southern Louisiana, forming a navigable network of thousands of kilometers. The nature is beautiful - the trees, flowers, water, alligators, birds and still-water. After lunch, we hold vibrations in a retreat area called "Lumini Christi", alongside a lake where we soon find ourselves surrounded by dragonflies.Lumini ChristiLumini Christi 

Meeting the locals, the Cajuns and Native Americans

August 15th - On this day, Feast of the Assumption, we attend a Mass at St. Hilary of Poitiers Church (many of Louisiana's French, the Cajuns, had ancestors in Poitou, a region of France).

Mass is in French and once again our presence is acknowledged. The altar is decorated with objects which have been part of the lives of Acadians: tools used to work the land, objects used on the homes. The women are wearing traditional Cajun dress. On this special occasion, it is the bishop who has come to officiate; although an English speaker, he makes a special effort to say the whole Mass in French, except for his homily. After the service, we're invited for cakes and refreshments; many come to thank us for coming to pray with and for them. They tell us about their lives and how they're happy to speak French because when they were at school they were forbidden to speak their mother tongue.

We later drive down to hold vibrations along the shores of the Gulf, in Grand Isle which is one of the areas most affected by the spill. At first it was raining very lightly, and then a little more. A sign tell us that it is prohibited to enter the beach. Surrounded by all the equipment used by the clean-up teams we do the vibrations right along side the sign. A helicopter flies over us several times observing us. Pelicans are flying around us and then we notice three dolphins at a distance... the rain has stopped.

August 16th - After prayer, we go to meet Father Roch, a Native American Catholic priest. From his terrace he shows us endless marshes which were green fields not so long ago. He joins us for our vibrations session together with his friend Jim. Everything flows naturally and easily. We go to Jim and Nancy's home and share a delicious crawfish Jambalaya, a Cajun specialty prepared by Nancy. In the evening we are invited to attend the Monday Night Disciples prayer, an all-men's prayer group with Jim and Father Roch. After the prayer we are asked to introduce ourselves, tell them about IVI and what we do, what it has done for us. Everyone listens very quietly... Then a thunderstorm breaks out impressing us but in the end, we are able to drive back and get home safe and sound!

August 17th - Departure to Laura Plantation, under the rain. A wonderful guide tells us all about Creole life, how the slaves lived, their working conditions... Stories about the families having lived in the Plantation - jealousy, power, cruelty...


August 18th - We go to meet a Native American community in Dulac, who founded a school for their children; for years children had no access to education there. Jaimie tells us of her dream of one day being able to create a school where she could transmit everything related to the Native American culture: knowledge of plants, the language of the Houma tribe, as well as their dances, medicine, etc. Companies and NGOs send volunteers to help them rebuild their houses. By chance we met an NGO representative studying the impact of the oil spill.

After sharing a meal they had prepared for us, John and Doris, Jamie's mother, take us to a place in the marshes for vibrations. They pray the rosary with us. Once again, we perspire abundantly, but as always, the angels send in our direction a gentle breeze to refresh us, and we notice that a helicopter is flying over us... It is important to remember that this is the area of the Cajun country which is losing land the size of a football field every 38 minutes. The trees are dying because the salt water has invaded the marshes, and hurricanes destroy their homes which they have to continuously rebuild. Most of the men in the community are fishermen. They thank us and ask us to come back very quickly.

songAugust 19th - the day of our departure, Audrey George, our host, sings her farewell song for us, with tears in her eyes and ours... As we head to the New Orleans airport we find a spot for our last vibrations in a village called "Les Allemands" (translation: "The Germans"). It was exactly five years ago that Katrina had arrived and devastated the region... And once at the airport, it's time to go off to our respective destinations; a customs officer who had apparently been watching us for a while, smiles and says "Love is in the air"!

 Les Allemands

Sharing freely

During this "itinerancy", each one had his or her partition to play.

It was exceptional to be able to all together live the "3 keys" every day for nine days, the keys being the founding base of Yvonne's teachings of love; an experience which, day after day, led us to open ourselves up to each other, to accept the other just as he or she is, to respect his or her role, thus enabling us to further open our hearts for and on these lands. The moments we shared with everyone - American, Cajun, or Native American- were of great authenticity and simplicity.

Mutual listening was constantly present; we were interested in their lives, as they also were by our, who we are and what we do. They expressed the desire to pray, to do vibrations and be harmonised. There was so much freedom in everything we shared!

They hope we will come back soon and were very moved to see people from France, Mexico and from several in the USA having come from afar to pray with them, to better understand their difficulties and to vibrate for the healing of the water. Some of us, through the vibrations, felt the resonance between our own history and the history of the earth on which we vibrated.

A touch of humour: here we were, constantly surrounded by water (the Gulf, Mississippi River, swamps, bayous, lakes, rivers, marshes...) and liters of rain pouring, but never could we manage to plunge with delight in these cool waters to refresh us. Fortunately, the rain comforted us practically everyday!

We stayed in people's private homes, our desire being to meet with people outside our organization. Our lovely hosts Audrey and her twin-sister Maudrey would prepare sumptuous breakfasts which were different every day! Audrey helped us prepare our excursions, set up appointments for us, and even advised us for places to hold vibrations; a real mother and a guide at the same time. She had spoken about our coming to quite a number of people including the local radio. When we were out in restaurants or places for vibrations, people would come to see us and ask us if we were the group who came to pray for the Gulf! They would thank us for our presence among them.

Thanks to all around the world who supported us through prayer during this wonderful trip!



lake Ponchartrain Near lake Pontchartrain

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