At the end of the day, Eugene describes the return of the pilgrims to their mountainside villages. The mood is joyful because of the privileged moments lived in the presence of God in Mary’s sanctuary.
The evening Office has just ended. The church was not able to hold the crowd of faithful any more than it did this morning. Hymns are echoing all over; everyone is leaving; it is six o’clock; most of them still have four hours to walk, and they will continue to sing their praises of the Lord like that all the way home.
You have to see what is going on here to get an idea of it.
Letter to Adolphe Tavernier,2 July 1820, O.W. XIII n. 30
Some of the pilgrims had walked for four hours to get to Laus, and now on the return journey for the same length of time, they would continue to sing their praises for the spiritual experience they had lived. As they walked along the mountain paths, their songs would echo and be heard everywhere in the valley.
The Missionaries were exhausted, but would have been happy as they listened. Once the cold winter months came and the pilgrimage season was over, the Missionaries would go to the surrounding villages and continue the work they had begun at Laus – by means of a full parish mission of several weeks duration. In the 21 years of our presence in Laus, some 200 village missions were preached from there.
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name!
Luke 1, 46-48