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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I write songs, I sing them... I play the piano and a little bit of the guitar.. I've released 5 albums of music, I love the scent of freshly fallen rain and the scent of lavender on bedsheets. I would drink tea all day long if the caffeine didn't keep me up at night. I hate driving in L.A traffic. I would love to one day catch the squirrel that steals the plums from my tree and make him a pet. I don't watch TV anymore. My 3 year old daughter is more entertaining than any TV show could ever be :)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

France - Mass at Mont Saint Michel / Setting off for Lisieux

Recount of France vacation taken on
Saturday 9th February 2008.

Mont St Michel, 9.20 a.m

My fingers are so cold I can hardly write. Went
for Laudes just now in the Abbey. It was beautiful.
Now sitting at a cafe along the street, having a tiny
cup of decafeine. Tastes good. I wanted to order the Verveine
Tea but they were out of it.

Woke up at 7.15 a.m
Was sleepy coz we slept around 2 a.m. But
it was so lovely to walk around Mont St Michel
in the briskness of the early morning. Pretty mystical
to walk along the ramparts and up the many flights of
stairs, in the purple-blue, pink light of dawn, up towards the
abbey's entrance.

For a thousand years, pilgrims have probably huffed
and puffed and walked up the many stairs, up the rock,
to pray. A beautiful metaphor for our faith journey,
the uphill, winding road.

I was alone, taking in the gradual pinking of the sky,
the waves gently lapping against the foot of this rock.
Taking pictures as I walked along, with my guardian
angel rushing me on, so that I would not be late
for Laudes.

Walking up the stairs towards the abbey door, I wondered
if I was at the right place. There was no one else there,
just me, awaiting the huge abbey doors to be opened, to
be let in for the 8 a.m Laudes.

Just as I was thinking this, the 'di-di-di' og an electronic
door alarm being switched off could be heard. Ah... modernity
and technology in the midst of the ancient. Pretty cool.

The door within a door creaked open and the young man
within ushered me in. I guess he was one of the novices
of the monastery.

We both waited a couple more minutes for others perhaps
to show, but as the minutes wore on, it became apparent
that I would be the only one there from outside
the abbey to join the monks within the abbey at Laudes.

We made our way past the nave of the main church where
a monk was pulling on a long rope, ringing the baritone,
resonant bells up in the tower that signalled a call
to prayer. In that dimly lit church and altar, it was
awe-inspiring and mystically beautiful to see history
come alive before my see the continuity of
this way of life of the monks, the tolling of the bell
everyday at this hour, as it has been done for close to thousand years.

We walked towards the left of the church and down a small
stairwell, into a small chapel, simple, round, shaped
like the cup of a hand. There in the dim light, I could
make out the figures of 4 priests and 4 nuns, prostrate
in silent prayer.

I sat on a bench along with 3 others, lay people, ordinarily
clothed like me. After a few minutes, the lights
were brighted and the monks and nuns began to sing.

It was hauntingly beautiful to hear the soft, smooth
harmonious blending of the voices in 4 part harmonies,
singing morning praises to God as the light slowly streamed
in the small rectangular windows behind the
small tabernacle from the brightening sky outside.

Their voices rose and fell and blended as they sang
Psalm 3 and Psalm 26, the canticle of Zachary.
I tried to sing and follow as best as I could,
which was not much, since I knew neither the language
nor the melody, but I asked the Holy Spirit
to help me 'know' in the depths of my spirit and soul,
to hear and discern the Lord's voice in this foreign tongue.

To think that for a thousand years, men and women have
praised God in that little chapel. Amazing...

Afterwards, I spoke a bit with the brother who had
opened the door for me to the Abbey. I was shown the
'balcony' of the abbey, where we could see
the whole lay of the land below. The water, slowly sifting
in, the grapefruit pink sky merging to was
a gorgeous view if only for a few minutes.

'See you at noon for Mass!' I told him, as he smiled and soon
the abbey doors were once again closed. And I wandered
along till I found this cafe. Just finished off
a beurre/sucre (butter and sugar) crepe and that
decaffeine. Now I'm ready to go along on my way.


I made my way back to the hotel and woke Kavin up.
I had just discovered that there would be a tour of the
abbey given in English at 11 a.m, so we didn't have much
time to spare.

The tour was given by a middle-aged, bespectacled
French lady who had the tendency to 'shush' groups
of tourists of schoolkids passing by who were talking
too loudly for her comfort. She definitely had a schoolteacher
inclination :) There were also some tourists from England who
were on the same tour as us

After the tour, we headed back to the front of the Abbey,
at a gate, the meeting spot for anyone who wanted to attend
mass at 12.15 p.m. A sweet-faced nun, one of those who had
sung at Laudes in the morning, was there at the gate.

We said 'hi' to her and told her we were going for
mass. She recognised me from the morning Laudes,
gave us stickers, green round ones which stated
'Participants of mass' and told me, with hand signals
and halting English, that mass would be at the same
place as Laudes had been. She also playfully chided
Kavin for not waking up on time for Laudes that morning
(Kavin had mentioned that he'd been sleeping). So cute,
she was even playfully wagging her finger at him as she chided him.

So Kavin and I made our downstairs to the little chapel.
There were some extra benches placed there to accomodate
the 20 people who were sitting down in silence.

We sat on the bench closest to the altar and sat in
silence. I recognised the man sitting next to us
as he had also been there in the morning for Laudes
and we introduced ourselves. Gäita was his name
and he was there on a retreat.

Mass soon began and it was filled with songs sung in 4 part
harmony; songs that harkened to a past, a heritage
of music passed down from generation to generation of
religious brothers and sisters.

The acoustic warmth and the echo reverberating
in that small chapel was heartwarming.

I did not understand a word as everything was sung
and spoke in French and I found myself wishing that
I had read the readings for the day so that I could
understand the gospel being proclaimed in French.
Still, I asked the holy spirit to speak to my soul,
for even if my brain could not understand the words,
the spirit could speak to my soul in a voice of
meaning that transcends language and it could plant
a seed of God's word there; a seed that would
germinate and flower in His time.

The liturgy of the Eucharist was beautifully
celebrated. The celebrant beheld Christ's body
and blood with such tenderness.
After the consecration, the great Amen and
during the Agnus Dei, he distributed the Eucharist
to the nuns and monks there, who lined up on both
sides of the altar, hands cupped to receive His body.

I was so moved to see their faces as they received
Him in their hands, as they beheld His body in their
cupped hands...faces full of tenderness and love,
praise and quiet contemplation as they beheld their
God. I especially lingered on the face of the sister,
the sweet, pretty one who had met us at the gate
earlier. There was such sweetness in her face, such
tenderness and love.

The celebrant had a very fatherly approach too and
he gestured in French that those who couldn't receive
communion could come up for a blessing. Kavin went up
for a blessing and really liked the way that the priest
took his time to specially bless each and every one.

I was pretty much moved to tears after partaking of
His body and drinking His sweet blood, as I sat
there on the bench, looking at the golden chalice that
held His precious blood, getting teary thinking about
his great sacrifice out of love for me and for my
breathren. It was a beautiful few minutes, a moment
of grace given by Him.

After mass, Gäita gave me the drawing that he'd been
drawing during part of the mass. I'd been wondering
why he'd been doodling, thinking that he was bored...
and here he was giving me his drawing. It showed a dragon
being slain by St. Michael and in the background was
Mont St Michel, and at the bottom right, he'd drawn
a girl in spiritual joy. He smiled and told me that
I was the girl he had depicted in his drawing.
I was very moved.

After mass, Kavin and I went back to Auberge St. Piere's
restaurant. This time, both of us had the lamb dish.

Following this, we drove to Lisieux. It took us about
2 hours to reach Lisieux from Mont St Michel.
After checking in to the Campanile hotel, we rested
for a while before heading out for dinner at a crepe
restaurant we'd googled. It was a nice cosy restaurant
run by a French guy and his Vietnamese wife.

I had the Bolognese crepe and Kavin had the ceylon
crepe (with chicken and curry). They were both good.
After this, we had dessert crepes. Sucre-beurre with
a scoop of Pear sorbet for me and crepe with a scoop
of coffee ice-cream for Kavin.

Here's a link to more pics taken at Mont Saint Michel.
Too many to post here.

Labels: , ,


Blogger dazedblu* said...

Gawd, I dunno what to say but I really love the single from yer album "On the Side of Me" .

Great single, and awesome album too! Hope I could listen to your music in a live eprformance :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Jannson said...

Wish I could travel like that some day.

But for now, coffee in Woodlands would do! Haha..

Speaking of Woodlands, wonder when you'll be in Singapore again!

Oh well.

- jing

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 9:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful writing as always, such a joy to read about your travels with Kavin and see the beautiful photos as well! Thanks and take good care, Corrinne! Your fan Steve in L.A. PS: sorry I can't go to see you at Ghengis Cohen tonight... :( I hope that Luz and all of your other fans will get to go and see you though!

Friday, July 25, 2008 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger leon said...

Hi. Corrinne! (:

I really like your song!

GOD really used it to touch my life!


Monday, July 28, 2008 3:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like a beautiful place. Wish I could go somewhere like that someday.

Sunday, August 03, 2008 2:23:00 AM  
Blogger grumblymon said...

Wow.. beautiful shots that u put up.. Take care1 Happy composing all e way~


Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a sweet drawing :) and a lovely place


Friday, August 22, 2008 9:07:00 AM  
Anonymous nikki said...

I really love your songs! I am glad I heard you promoting on the radio a few weeks ago; otherwise, I would've missed such a talented artist.

I hope you can perform here in Manila soon. More power & God bless!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 11:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Debra Chang said...

Hi Corrinne, your blog about France is making me envious! The scenic pictures are so beautiful... *wistful look*... hope you will come to Singapore soon for performance, I do regret missing the chance to hear you live =)

Take care and God Bless!

Saturday, August 30, 2008 9:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


when are you coming to Singapore again?
Pls do so soon! :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger tyrex3679 said...

Hi Corrinne,

I am Jude Gitamondoc, a songwriter based in the Philippines, and I have to say my recent discovery of your music is really God-sent to me as it has helped me deal with my own soul-searching in life. Your work is an inspiration to many, and I'm sure many have also expressed their gratitude to you by way of writing, the same way that I am thanking you now. From the deepest of my heart, from one pilgrim to another, thank you, Corrinne, for your gift of music to my life.

In return, I would like to give you a gift of my own music as well. I wrote this song with a good friend of mine, my mentor, Father Fidel Orendain of the Salesians of Don Bosco here in Cebu City. It was written as an ardent response to Jesus' invitation in the Holy Eucharist when He told us to "do this in memory of Me." I have seen from your blogs that you are a passionate lover of the Mass and the Eucharist. I hope this song will be a blessing to you as well, as much as your own work has been a blessing to me.

Again, I thank you in the sincerest of ways. God bless you. May you continue to be God's vessel of hope to the world.

Ever grateful,
Jude Gitamondoc

to listen to the song, click here...

(music by Jude Gitamondoc, lyrics by Fr. Fidel Orendain, SDB, May 18, 2004)

You gave yourself completely
You served your flesh and blood
When we took you for granted
You never ceased to love
Even when we ponder when you said
You’re right here in this wine and bread
How could you stay just a memory
When your dying has set all of us free?

And I will always remember
As you have asked me to
And I know you’d stay this close forever
If I just believe it’s true
And because you’ve called me friend
I will hold you till the end
And I will always remember.

You saw our lives as empty
You prayed to have us filled
When you gave yourself completely
You gave us something real
Even when we struggle to believe
You draw us near to come and to receive
So let us tell you how we feel
When we come to you in this holy meal…

And I will always remember
As you have asked me to
And I know you’d stay this close forever
If I just believe it’s true
And because you’ve called me friend
I will hold you till the end
And I will always remember.

And I will always remember
As you have asked me to
And I know you’d stay this close forever
If I just believe it’s true
And because you’ve called me friend
I will hold you till the end
And I will always remember.

Copyright © MasterWorks 2004

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 8:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi corrinne! When are you coming back to Singapore to hold a concert? You do seem an awful lot like Joanna Wang, the new singer from Taiwan. In a good way of course! (:

Sunday, September 21, 2008 1:04:00 AM  

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