This is the final post by Patricia Turner, our June Pilgrim in Residence. Patricia has shared about her threshold pilgrimage each Wednesday this month. She recently completed her journey throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom and sent me her posts and images along the way. You can read more about Patricia’s preparations for her pilgrimage here and read the rest of the posts in this series here. If you’ve enjoyed her reflections and beautiful images this past month, be sure to share your gratitude with Patricia in the comments below! -Lacy
LOOK! I beg you, don’t ever stop looking because what makes the world so lovely is that somewhere it hides a well, a well that hasn’t been found yet—and if you don’t find it, maybe nobody will.
Antoin de Saint Exupery, The Little Prince
Every step of this amazing journey has revealed something to me, from my ability to overcome the illness that threatened to curtail the journey before I even began to the kindness of complete strangers who helped me along the way. Everything I needed, I received. That is a powerful lesson.
But that quote above seems to sum up the entire experience for me—keep looking, that deep well inside yourself is waiting to be found; if you don’t look inside, no one will.
My journey has been shaped by the words of many. Some I brought with me, some I discovered along the way. Michael Rodgers and Marcus Losack’s wonderful book, Glendalough: A Celtic Pilgrimage, was instrumental in bringing the whole trip together for me. The book posed seven questions as you visited each of the seven churches in the monastic city. I visited them each and addressed these questions:
- What is the key stone in your life? What holds the balance?
- How can you enter into a new communion with others?
- How is your faith reflected in your daily life?
- How do you experience friendship and do you have a soul friend?
- How can we embrace the feminine aspect of creation?
- Can you recognize the divine presence in the natural world?
- How can you remain open to change and new directions in your life?
The threshold of St. Mary’s seemed a perfect one to end with. With its seven large stones, signifying the seven stages of life and framing the threshold and the ancient saltire cross under the lintel which denoted a place of sanctuary and refuge, it was my favorite of the seven churches. Set apart, few people visit it as it is not easily accessible.
There was a message in that as well. It was the woman’s church—a place that was set aside to venerate the feminine aspects of Celtic spirituality which I have come to embrace completely in this pilgrimage.
This tiny robin stayed near me as I walked around St. Mary’s and I welcomed his sweet song and gentle presence. I think we are sent little messengers everyday to give us hope and to renew us. This small soul did that for me that day.
I found this final piece of writing in the Hermitage Center:
As this new chapter begins… May a courageous soul, a strong body and a determined spirit be your constant companion and may this be the path that leads you to true personal happiness and fulfillment.
I don’t think I could find a better note to end this pilgrimage with, for it is a new chapter I will be starting when I return. This new chapter has yet to be written but I am excited to begin.
Blessings on your own pilgrimage through life and remember—
There is a road that runs straight through your heart. Walk on it.
Macrina Wiederkehr, from the poem “Tourist or Pilgrim?”
Boon, mentioned in the title, is not a word use much today but it means benefit, gift or blessing brought back by a pilgrim from their journey. What boon have you brought home with you from journeys passed?