The Basilica is a very impressive building, but the nicest part of it is the Crypt, where we attended the Old Rite Mass on the Sunday morning. I didn't get any photos during the Mass, I felt a bit inhibited, since we'd had one old lady give us one of those severe French 'stares' (anyone who's ever visited France will understand what I mean by that!) when we entered the Chapel. The photo below is taken just after Mass, when the two young men were returning the altar to novus ordo-ability.
The Mass itself was somewhat bizarre, for those who are used to the Usus Antiquior over here. The Priest seemed very unsure of himself, presumably because it was so long since he'd celebrated this Mass, but what got us, was that the Epistle was read in French by a layman, from a lecturn facing the people, followed by the Gospel read in French by the Priest, at the same lecturn - neither had been read through in Latin prior to this. The other odd thing was that they all stood during the consecration. Still it was better than the New Rite Mass we attended in the Carmel; charity prevents me from saying too much about that - suffice to say, it seemed very modern there... (and what they've done to the interior decor of the Carmel chapel made me very sad).
But, the mosaics in the Crypt are lovely, and I especially liked this statue of the Child Jesus - it was hard to get a photo in focus.
The upper Basilica main altar looks like this ..
Outside, round the back of the Basilica, we found the tombs of Louis and Zelie Martin. Although their relics have been translated, and will be placed in a new shrine in the Crypt in September, prior to their Beatification on October 19th this year, we found it a good place to pray and have our photies taken by our son ...
who had climbed up lots of steps to a lovely outdoor altar, which he pointed out would make a great place to say the Old Mass, and then he decided to oblige us with a few of the actions the Priest would make, if he were to celebrate Mass there!
As I've already mentioned above, there was a little disappointment re the actual Carmel - especially as the sisters now come "out" for Mass, and sit at the front of the chapel - no strict enclosure there anymore - but the side chapel with Therese's remains is a lovely place to pray. I have to admit, when I first saw it, I wondered whether she was incorruptible, but actually, that is a wax effigy atop the tomb - it is very beautiful though.
But the most moving place, I found, was the family home of Les Buissonets. I really enjoyed its ordinariness, (in a 19th century way!). I didn't take any photos there, but looking for some on the internet, I came across a wonderful set, here on a lovely blog I've just discovered, called Laudem Gloriae.
I prayed for the intentions of all those who read this blog, so I'm sure Therese, and her Ma and Pa are interceding for you!