What a blissfully relaxing day! After breakfast we headed off to St Thomas Mount, the place that St Thomas was apparently martyred. We had a wander around and came by a Franciscan orphanage that cared for 50 children aged between 0 – 5 years and ran a little gift and coffee shop so we took refuge there for a quick coffee and asked about the work they do. It is always so humbling to meet people who devote their lives to such amazing work in such difficult and harsh environments. Of the 50 children 26 were classed as semi-orphans, which means they are children of coolies that are cared for while their parents work, the remainder are full orphans who have no-one else to care for them, they are abandoned or their parents have died. The money form the gift shop and the coffee shop is what provides for all of their needs.
We next visited the cave where St Thomas hid and was discovered. It is always amazing to see the faithful gathering to pray at such places. The cave was dark and dingy,the air was close and had it not been for the open entrance to the cave it would have been so claustrophobic there is no way I could have entered, yet people did to kneel and pray.
Next stop was the basilica, the site of the tomb, it’s a beautiful church, the surroundings peaceful, by Chennai standards. After this it was time to head back to go and get a few essentials from the local shop. It’s always a bit of an adventure to head out onto the streets to brave the roads and tackle the cars, bikes and trucks to get across to the other side. The streets are full of hustle and bustle, people going about their everyday lives among the dust and the pollution of the traffic, the constant blowing of horns and chatter. There is no other way to describe life here other than vibrant, so full of color and noise, life been lived on the streets as you pass by!
For dinner it was out with the bishop and it took over an hour to travel just 7 km’s, the traffic across peak time is horrific at present because of the Chennai Metro which is currently under construction, but all I can say is that the food is absolutely, definitely worth it, although we were provided with enough. Food to feed possibly the whole of chennai, ok so I exaggerate, but I reckon you get the picture 🙂
Tomorrow is a cruisey one for me, but for the rest of the team it’s a day out to Mahamalipuram to see the monolithic carvings and beach temple, so hopefully I. Will get enough info from them to share their day out.