Meat

When I walked the Camino de Santiago, I survived on a steady diet of ham sandwiches and beer. I subjected my body to a pack that weighed more than was healthy for my frame, moved my feet over miles of terrain, felt my muscles fatigue and my flesh blister and bleed. Every day, somewhere alongContinue reading “Meat”

The Holy Mountain

Last summer my partner and I spent a month in Ireland. Below is a reflection I wrote after climbing Croagh Patrick, an ancient pilgrimage site where St. Patrick was said to have fasted for 40 days in the 5th century. Up the holy mountain. Following a stream of stones and prayers into the mist. TheContinue reading “The Holy Mountain”

From stone to flesh

Weeks before departing for my Holy Week Camino pilgrimage in April, I am out for one of my practice walks. Bundled into layers of winter clothing, I cross through muddy, grayish-tan grass crusted partly by winter’s snow melting into the thawing ground. It is Lent: the season of awakening, of emergence, of spring. I amContinue reading “From stone to flesh”

I Walked into Suffering on the Road to Santiago

“For as long as humans have walked, they have walked to get closer to their gods.” The words appear on top of a PBS website in white upon a black background—an over-simplified truth, smacking with arrogant certitude. At least that’s the way it feels to me when I stare at the screen just a fewContinue reading “I Walked into Suffering on the Road to Santiago”

Redefining faith on El Camino

Since high school, I’ve been teaching the Christian faith to others. In parishes, classrooms, and while camping in the woods, I’ve taught songs, explained Bible stories, instilled virtues and asked students to memorize definitions and lists. And, occasionally, over the years, a thoughtful youngster in one of those settings would interrupt my enthusiastic lectures andContinue reading “Redefining faith on El Camino”

Praying with my feet: called to El Camino

For over a thousand years, millions of pilgrims have walked across Spain to the Catedral de Santiago (Cathedral of St. James). During Holy Week, I will become one of those pilgrims. This Lent, much of my energy and prayer has been focused on preparing for this pilgrimage. During this, I have found that God hasContinue reading “Praying with my feet: called to El Camino”

As the insects, like the swans: Living the vow of obedience with a free spirit

I am in the woods on Mount Subasio above Assisi, Italy, at a sacred place of prayer called La Carceri. It’s July 20, 2014. I am on a pilgrimage, thrilled to be praying in this holy place where St. Francis and the early friars spent much time in contemplation. I too am in contemplation onContinue reading “As the insects, like the swans: Living the vow of obedience with a free spirit”

Heaven and Earth: Lessons learned in Assisi

This past summer I had a profound experience that helped me to remember that heaven and earth are one. I was in Assisi, Italy, on pilgrimage. I was there with other Franciscans who were preparing for (or discerning) final vows, and participating in a study pilgrimage sponsored by Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs. As a Franciscan sister,Continue reading “Heaven and Earth: Lessons learned in Assisi”

4 photos from Assisi

I have been back from Assisi for a few weeks now, after spending over two weeks on pilgrimage there. The effects of the experience are still sinking in. Slowly, I am coming to know what the after-effects of my Assisi experience actually are. It has occurred to me, though, that certain images and experiences lingerContinue reading “4 photos from Assisi”

God’s teaching tools in Assisi

It’s my last morning in Assisi. Soon I will depart and go on the next leg of my journey before returning home. I’m restless and nervous, for transitions and travel challenge me. I came here as a pilgrim two weeks ago. I experienced this city as a pilgrim. Now I understand that I also leaveContinue reading “God’s teaching tools in Assisi”