It was 2013 and I was a newbie at the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard. It was a difficult hike up the mountain and my body was suffering the next day.
I very vividly remember the next day, sneaking into the Crypt for some silence and seeing a Canon sitting in a nook playing a bit of music. He glanced in my direction, smiled warmly, and said something in French (probably the same thing I now say if I want to sing something while others around around…“Does my music disturb you?”). I didn’t know what he was saying, I just smiled. He continued.
His music was lovely.
He is lovely. And, fittingly, he is Jean-Marie Love(l)y. Monsignor Lovey was the Provost of the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard. He is not quite a big as the beloved St. Bernard dogs, but he is every bit as friendly, warm, and loving.
On the 8th of July, Monsignor Lovey was announced as the next Bishop of Sion.
I think his own words about the Hospice, written for the brochure for the Hospice’s massive renovation campaign (and translated into English by me), say more about him than I would be able to:
Welcome to the place between Heaven and Earth
The birth of the Hospice in the 11th century was thanks to the work of Bernard of Menthon, the Archdeacon of Aosta. The Augustine Canons were charged with the task of protecting travelers, and the Hospice became a haven.
Bernard knew the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard at this high summit could reach people in the depths of their hearts. Since it began, our guests not only receive food, drink, a place to sleep, a roof over their heads; but also, prayer. Bernard’s work is still relevant today; time has not changed our purpose. We take those in need into our home on the mountaintop and shower them with the blessings of God to prepare them for their continuing journey.
For centuries, the Canons have worked to accommodate the daily needs of the Hospice. They have restored, rebuilt, expanded, and maintained. The Hospice is open year-round now, providing this house between Heaven and Earth as a steadfast reflection of its bold founder. The Congregation of Grand St. Bernard exercises its mission through extraordinary grace. This is God’s house. This is your house.
And you are always welcome.
Monseigneur Jean-Marie Lovey,
Canon and Provost of the Congregation of Grand St. Bernard
May God continue to bless Jean-Marie in his service as the Bishop of Sion.
And may God bless our beloved Hospice of Grand St. Bernard, José, Raphi, Jean-Michel, Anne-Marie, Frédéric, Anne-Laure, and all who walk through the door in service.