Report from Louisiana: Mary on the Bayou

Posted: August 22, 2022 by Pat Austin in Uncategorized
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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It was my intention to post last Monday from the Fete Dieu du Teche but I have to say, I got all caught up in that event that I just wasn’t able to.

I’ve posted before about this annual Eucharist procession down Bayou Teche each year on August 15, on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. In Cajun Country it also coincides with the 257th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians in south Louisiana. This all-day event begins in Leonville with a Mass in French by the Bishop and ends in the early evening in St. Martinville with some six or seven stops in between where the boats stop, and the procession comes ashore to say the Rosary in each town.

It is just incredibly moving to me to see the entire community in prayer and reverence like this and I love hearing the ceremony in French.

I am not a real believer in coincidences. My husband and I are not Catholic but are Episcopal. They are fairly close; close enough where we can follow the services. On Saturday, two days before the Fete event, we were shopping in an antique store and found “finger rosaries.” We’d never seen one but thought they were very pretty so we each picked out one. We have Anglican rosaries, and I figured I could sort of use this in the same, or similar, way. The one my husband picked had a “Miraculous Medal” of Mary on it. Neither one of us had ever heard of this medal so when we got back to the house Steve did a little research on it.

At the Fete Dieu du Teche, as we were walking down to the bayou bank for the procession, Steve saw a lady in a van trying to park. She was with Radio Maria, and she was having trouble wedging into a parking place, so Steve helped her. After the ceremony, she sought him out to thank him, and she said, “Oh wait! I want to give you something!”

She handed him an American flag with a Miraculous Medal of Mary dangling from it and a card that said it had been blessed.

Kindness begets kindness.

I have so much love and respect for the Cajun culture and not to oversimplify things, but their love of Church, family, and community is incredibly admirable.

Living in three hours away from the area is just too far for me and I can’t wait until we can relocate there. I’m not Cajun by blood, but I had someone down there tell me, “but you are by heart!” I’ll take that incredible honor and I’ll mark my calendar for August 15 next year!

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