Hear our prayers: the coronavirus cuts Mont Saint-Michel in France


“Their jobs stopped over the weekend,” said Bellon, referring to the Saturday and Sunday preceding the March 17 virtual lockdown.

Marc Yrieux, owner of a souvenir shop, is also worried about his 20 employees and his business. It counts April as the month in which its summer season begins.

There will be no easing of restrictions on public life until at least May 11, and even then, it is unclear when France will reopen its borders, allow festivals and allow the tourism sector to restart.

“It’s not like I’m going to make up for the loss of income in November,” said Yrieux.

For centuries, Mont Saint-Michel has been a sacred destination for pilgrims. Although the pandemic has not changed the routine of work and prayer for the five monks and six nuns at the abbey, a deep sense of unhappiness reigns, said Brother Philippe.

“In all the crises we have experienced, no one has ever been prevented from praying among us,” he said.

(Report by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Richard Lough, edited by Ed Osmond)


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