More of Rennes

For breakfast, I ate by myself in a little dining room. They had the table covered with my breakfast things: a tablecloth, napkin, teapot (with coffee), coffee cup, bread basket, cheese, jelly, butter, milk (fresh from the cow! And steamed for the coffee!), orange juice, fruit, anything I really wanted! Angelle, the novice from Trinidad (who sat next to me at dinner), showed me around La Tour for the morning, which took awhile! We went to the crypt, where Jeanne Jugan (the lady who started the Little Sisters of the Poor) is buried. She also showed me their barnyard, with the pigs (cochons), cows (vaches), and chickens (poules) live. I got to see the cow-herder guy (I guess he’s a “cowboy”) milk the cows and feed the 8-day old baby calf with a bottle, too cute! Angelle took me to the gardens, where they have all sorts of roses and other pretty flowers, and also crops like potatoes, corn, wheat, etc. We went to the different rooms around their big house, and I got to see where they had their classes and stuff. After lunch, we all put on long aprons and headed out to one of the barns to take the roots out of the potatoes (for the pigs, not us) and it was so much fun! We were all sitting in a circle, speaking French and laughing, talking about random things, de-rooting the potatoes and throwing them into the crates. After that, I wandered around the gardens and trees and grassy parts for a while since the other girls were in class, and then it was evening prayer/dinner time.

The next day, we (the novices and I) took a walk around the part I hadn’t been before, which had two lakes, swans, and hazelnut, walnut, and chestnut trees, along with lots of grass. In the afternoon, I went down the road to “Ma Maison” which is the retirement home that the sisters run all over the world. I was pretty nervous because it’s hard enough for me to speak French to people who can hear well and know a little English, but the elderly people here wouldn’t know ANY English at all and would be harder to understand with their accents. As it turns out, they were really sweet and even the ones who didn’t talk to me told the sisters that they were happy I took them for a walk or brought them their cake or something! There was one lady, Madame Guitton, who I was able to talk to for over an hour about how she grew up on a farm, made sausages for a living, and was 16 when the Germans invaded France during WWII. The next day when I came back, I went to see her and she was SO excited to see me! One of the sisters told me she had been so happy to talk to the “American girl” for so long! There were also the ones who were grumpy and wouldn’t talk to me, but that was fine, because the sisters could talk to them. All throughout the day, the sisters would walk around saying, “Bonjour!” and I’d say, “Bonjour ma Soeur!” In France, you say “my Sister” to nuns, and I think that is sweet and is also useful if you can’t remember their name. 🙂

Every night, I went to bed with the window open and the crisp air coming in, it was SO nice!!

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