15 February 1096
The moment Adele saw Peter approaching, sitting on top of his mule, her eyes filled with tears. Adele had heard all about Peter’s teachings; of all the kindness and generosity he bestowed upon the people of this land. Many of the villagers likened him to Saint Peter even though they had not yet met him. Father Marc even said that Christ had sent Peter to preach unity, good will, humanity and…Holy War. That was why Father Marc had written to Peter; He wanted him to preach here in the town of Rochefort. Adele suspected he wanted to hear more about this Holy War. She wanted to learn more about it herself. But she had other pressing concerns and she needed to see Peter. Desperately.
She could already tell that Peter was not alone. He was accompanied by several travelers. Few of them were knights, clad in a full suite of armor. They all chanted, “God wills it,” over and over again.
Adele hiked up her skirts and ran towards the procession, her vision nearly blinded by the tears that streamed from her eyes.
When Peter saw her, he brought his mule and the entire procession to an immediate halt. “My dear child. What is the matter?”
Adele fell to her knees. The rain soaked ground seeped quickly through her skirts, sending deep chills throughout her body. “Father…I am so glad you have come to Rochefort. I have…I have…”
“Come, child, take my hand and tell me of your troubles. The good Lord knows everything, and he has a grand plan for you; for us all,” Peter said, looking up towards Heaven.
Adele slipped her hand in his. It was cold, rough and caked in dirt, but she did not care. She was holding the hand of the great Peter the Hermit. That was all that mattered. She dabbed at her eyes and nose with her spare hand. “Oh, dear Father. My mother is all I have left, but she is very ill. She wishes to see you.”
Peter gave her hand a squeeze. “Of course. I shall see her right away.”
Hand in hand, Adele and Peter led the procession of travelers into the village. A feeling of calm washed over Adele as she guided Peter to the tiny cottage where she lived with her mother and sisters. Children, who had been playing in the street, stopped what they were doing and ran towards Peter, their arms outstretched and smiles plastered on their pale little faces. Everywhere, curious villagers left their homes and coalesced upon her cottage. Caring not for the audience they have gathered, Adele pushed open the wooden door and guided Peter inside.
Father Marc was kneeling beside the cot where Mother lay. Elle was stoking the fire while little Josie played with her rag doll, Celeste nearby.
The moment Father Marc saw Peter, he bowed reverently and said; “Father Peter, you have come at last.”
Adele watched as Peter embraced Father Marc. “Yes, dear brother. My heart is rejoicing, for I have wanted to meet you ever since I received your letter. And now I finally have.”
Adele rushed to her mother’s side, took her hand and kissed it. Despite the fact that Mother’s cot was beside the fire pit, her hand was ice cold. Fresh tears stung Adele’s eyes. “He is here, Mother. All will be well.”
Read Part 2, Take up the Cross, Dear Child.