Monday, July 13, 2015

CISVAAA Principals' Camino Pilgrimage to Santiago: Day 8

Day 8: Arzua to Rua
Today was a short walk of eighteen kilometres. Once again we were travelling through aromatic eucalyptus groves and by fields of crops. The feeling was a bit different today, though, as we knew that we were so close to Santiago; there is a mixture of anticipation and a strong wish that it not be over so soon.
Our day began at the idyllic farmhouse with a beautiful breakfast of homemade items, including the famous Santiago cake that we have enjoyed throughout our journey. As we have for the past several days, we had one of our CISVA colleagues join us for our morning prayer through Facetime, as well as Waldemar’s wife, Liz, who has walked the Camino previously and who walked part of our journey with us each morning through her conversations with Waldemar.
After our prayer, we came across several sisters who were stamping the pilgrim passports and distributing holy cards. They were clearly in the ministry of service to pilgrims, as they were offering free bottles of cold water as well. We stopped to speak with them, as they spoke English, and they are members of the Order of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. They were interested to hear that we are from Vancouver, as they know Sister Beth Ann who used to work in our VANSPEC program. They were so pleased to find this connection and we were too; it is a very small world, indeed.
Today, we saw determination. We saw so many people who were hurt, with everything from ankle bandages to knee braces to bandages for cuts and bruises and blisters. Despite this difficulty, however, all of these people soldiered on; nothing was going to keep them from completing their Camino journeys. Perhaps many of these people were carrying burdens with them that are not physical, and these were spurring them on to reach Santiago. Whatever was propelling them, we saw it directly on their faces today.
Despite the familiar routine and scenery today, we felt different. As we ate lunch, we talked about our day tomorrow: what time we will leave; how we will get our pilgrim certificates; how we will manage to get to the pilgrim Mass on time. All of these are logistical items that must be addressed, but they also are an unavoidable reminder that our journey will soon come to an end. This thought brings us mixed feelings: relief that our physical exertions will soon be finished and sadness that our time in this cocooned community of pilgrims will soon be over. We will, however, work through these thoughts and feelings in the same way that we began our journey – together.


Marian, Deirdre and Michael at the beginning of the day.


Brenda and Marian on the move.
Waldemar, Rosaleen and Michael.
Plums, anyone?

Relaxing after our walk.


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