Tour Updates

Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody

Picture of Sarah Carmody
Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Sarah Carmody - Monday, 9 December 2019, 1:18 AM

Today was a pretty relaxing day with a well-deserved sleep-in for all the pilgrims. As usual we started the day with a lovely breakfast provided by Brother Francis, a true gift to all the boys and demonstration of all the Marist characteristics. After this we were able to sit in a truly magic Mass given to use by Father Carlos. During the Mass the community was mourning the death of a young 19-year-old. The boy’s mother was in the Mass today and is the cleaner of the Church. Father Carlos gave us a good insight in his homily about repenting; he said that we’re all sinners, no one is perfect but that isn’t what we are here for. He told us that our purpose in life is to find true happiness and peace with what it is we do and ourselves. Within the Mass, I felt a very special feeling with all the songs and the different cultures. I also found it quite remarkable to see more kids than adults. No one was forcing these kids to go to Mass, they just wanted to be there and be a part of the community, which gave me a great sense of joy.

After Mass we took a little walk from the Marist pastoral centre to visit the villages and see where these kids, that we get to teach, live. It was a very confronting experience. First, we got to see the mother of the 19-year-old boy and learn more about her story. She’s living by herself and has two kids: one daughter who is studying in Battambang and another son who had to stop studying to work for the family. The daughter is coming to visit her once a week via a two-hour motorbike ride.

We walked further into the village and saw some familiar faces, including a family with 5 kids that latched onto us once they saw who we were, with the biggest smiles and so much joy it was incredible. While we were there, the parents told us the story of Patrick, a pilgrim from Sydney who, after school, came back to visit the family 9 times in 5 years. He also brought some of their land for them as most of these people were renting. But sadly, he passed away from complications.

The dad of the family showed us more of the village and the remarkable ways they grow food for, not only the family, but the community. It made me very happy to see the way they all got along and didn’t complain one bit when we were walking around their homes. It was the complete opposite – they were so grateful that we were there. I thought that was truly spectacular to see.

Finally I’d also like to thank the parents and staff for your comments, your words don’t go unnoticed.

Kind regards

Rhys Moody 

Picture of Adriano Di Prato
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Adriano Di Prato - Monday, 9 December 2019, 1:35 AM

Hello Rhys,

It is us thanking you and the other pilgrims for sharing such deep insights into faith, place and people. It is a privilege to read each persons account of their immersion journey. 

It is clear that this experience is having a significant impact on each of you. Remember to continue to look out for one another. And don’t forget to thank and acknowledge the presence of Sarah, Susan, Phil and Phil - each giving up so much so you all can have such a wonderful opportunity.

Please say hello to Br Francis from me. He is an awesome human being. 

Safe travels and go gently

Adriano Di Prato 

Picture of Janelle Reid
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Janelle Reid - Monday, 9 December 2019, 9:07 PM

Good Evening Pilgrims

I’ve just figured out how to send a post on Twitter but I have been reading your accounts and enjoying all the photographs 

Sounds like a life changing experience and I am looking forward to hearing your accounts first hand when you get home  

P.S. Daniel is the Driclor holding up?

Regards Peter

Picture of Louise Moody
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Louise Moody - Monday, 9 December 2019, 7:49 AM

Hi Rhys and pilgrims,

Sounds like the day was filled with spiritual and emotional connections . The sense of community really shines through. Meeting families and students in their own home is such a unique experience. and confronting because of your own idea of what home life  looks like.

Keep soaking in every moment and look after yourselves. 

Lots of love,



Picture of Bridget Helliar
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Bridget Helliar - Monday, 9 December 2019, 8:47 AM

Great reflections Rhys. Sounds like it was quite an emotional day. 

Picture of Pauline Bellofiore
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Pauline Bellofiore - Monday, 9 December 2019, 9:00 AM

Good morning Rhys

Seems like you all needed some sleep, from reading between the lines of your post.

Then is seems that you all had some challenging moments, but also some uplifting moments meeting the families of the village you were visiting.  It's hard not to feel terrible for these families, but on the flip side, think of what you are bringing them, your sheer presence and positivity, which, when mingled with their joy at seeing you, should keep you all going. Some touching stories indeed, which become all the more real for you as you are actually meeting the individuals, not hearing about their plight on the news or on an online post.  Humanity is a beautiful, yet challenging concept.

I've heard a lot about Br Francis' breakfasts, they seem to be legendary! No pressure Br Francis!

Best wishes to all

Ms B

Picture of Terry Meehan
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Terry Meehan - Monday, 9 December 2019, 9:02 AM

Hi Pilgrims, 

I feel like I was there with you Rhys, your great detailed recount of Mass, walking through the village and meeting all the local people has given me a great  understanding of what you’re doing and feeling.

Its wonderful to read all your varying recounts,  they all have a common theme of compassion and understanding of your differences with the Cambodian people but a realisation of your similarities too.

Thank you 

Sarah xxoo 

Picture of Janelle Reid
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Janelle Reid - Monday, 9 December 2019, 12:45 PM

Dear Pilgrims,

What an amazing community you have been welcomed into. A community that faces such challenges but has positivity and gratefulness for things we take for granted. Reading of your experiences makes me feel quite emotional, and I thank you for your messages that are so honest and heartfelt. 

Stay safe, we miss you all.



Picture of Sarah Pyle
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Sarah Pyle - Monday, 9 December 2019, 12:56 PM

Good morning Pilgrims, 

I really am enjoying waking up each morning and reading your blogs and the different perspectives and insights you all bring.  

It was lovely to hear you enjoyed Mass and what a special place to be able to celebrate it.  The community you visited is extremely confronting but it sounds like you have all had such rich experiences and were able to see how this community is being supported.

Give brother Francis another hug for me and enjoy spending time with the borthers and learning from them what it means to be Marist. Enjoy last few days in Pailin! Continue to enjoy your time, savour every moment and go gently. 

Ms Pyle

Picture of Carolyn Young
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Carolyn Young - Monday, 9 December 2019, 2:50 PM

Hi to Rhys and All,

Rhys, thank you for such a beautiful and thoughtful post! Visiting the families is an emotional experience and I am grateful for the time you took to honour that in your thoughtful post.

You have only been in Pailin a short time but already seem to be getting such insights into this very different way of life. Thank you, All, for everything you are doing; you are in my thoughts and prayers each day.

I'm sure you thank Br Francis every day, but please make sure he knows how grateful I am too for the care that he takes of you!

Kind regards,


Picture of Terry Meehan
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Terry Meehan - Monday, 9 December 2019, 4:47 PM

Hi Pilgrams

A new emotional and spiritual experience everyday, with everyone of them taking its own unique form - nice words Moondog.


Kellie Carbone
Re: Day 7: Pailin - Rhys Moody
by Kellie Carbone - Saturday, 14 December 2019, 10:15 AM

Dear Rhys,

I really enjoyed reading your update, hearing about the smiling children in mass, the songs and different cultures...yes that must have been 'truly magic' It must have been very emotional for all of you to hear about that mothers loss, to go as a group to visit the mother and hear her story shows incredible compassion and love. Cant wait to see you all. Love Kellie