For me, Thierry, St-Maurice isn’t a new place. My mother grew up in Bex. Each year I would come from Belgium, where I lived, to spend my holidays on the hillside of Chiètres, where my grandparents had their home. From there I had a view over the villages of Bex, and St-Maurice with its abbey, and an extraordinary panorama of the Dents-du-Midi. My great grandmother was from Valais, and lived in St-Maurice.
It was in September 1999 that, during an prolonged time of seeking God, He called me so that I could serve Him through praise and prayer. This calling would lead me to spend five years at the International Prayer House in Kansas City. It is during this period, in 2006, that I would discover the amazing story of the Laus Perennis that unfolded in St-Maurice. Watching a documentary on the history of the prayer movement throughout the history of the church, I recognised that mountain that had so marked my childhood, overlooking my grandparents home. I discovered, to my great surprise, what happened there.
In 2009, my paternal grandfather died. He lived in Salvan, a municipality that is part of the district of St-Maurice. My parents inherited his chalet and would move there in 2011.
During the following years I often taught on the history of the prayer movement in St-Maurice, which is what brought me to study the subject more deeply.
I am struck by the perseverance and passion of these monks over the centuries. Just imagine, for more than 300 years, the generations of men like you and I that gave their lives assacrifices, ‘wasting’ themat the feet of Jesus.
When we arrived in Germany in 2009, we knew we wouldn’t stay indefinitely. We had come for the birth of our first child, but as the Lord hadn’t given us precise directions we stayed in Karlsruhe. There we served Him in the city’s house of prayer, all the time waiting for the Lord to show us what our next mission would be.
At the end of 2013 I, Bianka, spent two weeks in Kansas City. Whilst I was in the prayer house, the Lord spoke to me and showed me that our next destination would be St-Maurice. Upon returning to Germany, I didn’t speak of this to Thierry. It was only four months afterwards that I mentioned to him what happened, but without telling him the place the God had shown me. I wanted God to speak to him directly.
During the summer of 2015, whilst visiting my parents in Salvan, I (Thierry) returned each day to pray at the Basilica of St-Maurice. It’s a calm and peaceful place, and I discussed with the Lord its incredible history, and how these monks had touched his heart through their songs and prayers. This moved me deeply and brought tenderness to my heart.
It was on returning to Germany that, during prayer, I strongly felt the invitation of the Lord to found a prayer house in St-Maurice (for 1500 years prayer has risen daily from the Abbey of Saint-Maurice. Even today fifty canons chant and pray several times each day).
After pondering this invitation for several days, it wasn’t without hesitation that I responded to the calling of the Lord, as there were great challenges.
Now I was curious, to know what it was that my wife had received from the Lord nine months earlier. So we each wrote on a piece of paper the country and the region we had been told… and they corresponded perfectly.