Fearday (1)By Sister Anita (Anitawa) Fearday, ASC

Twenty kilometers a day. 70 years old. Traveling the Way of St. James in Spain. Next week I begin my pilgrimage.

The Way of St. James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages, together with those to Rome and Jerusalem.

Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. That Spanish city is the end destination of my travels.

‘The Way’ can take one of dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, the Way of Saint James begins at one’s home and ends at the pilgrimage site.  Last year over 200,000 pilgrims traveled by car, bicycle, horse, and foot to the tomb.

I plan to walk the French route which stretches nearly 500 miles from St. Jean-Pied-du Port in France to Santiago in the northwestern part of Spain. I am starting in Pamplona next week.

For seventy years I have been on the way to a more abundant life. What better way to reflect on this journey of existence than to make a month-long pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Spain?

Learning to be adaptable is the mark of a real pilgrim. Forty years spent in Bolivia have been for me a good preparation for living in uncertainty, and I have discovered that sometimes adverse conditions are when the best things happen.

Sometimes when life grows comfortable, it can be good to put ourselves intentionally in the way of challenge. I believe that the hardships during this journey to St. James will be as much a part of my pilgrimage as the joy and gladness that comes from reaching my destination.

I ask that you keep this pilgrim in prayer and pray to God that my humanness may flourish on my journey in relation to the Holy One. This Holy Week, I also encourage you to consider your own life as a pilgrimage. Where are you going? Where can you use challenge to strengthen your resolve to keep going? How is God present in the journey?