Saturday, April 29, 2017

Nice Time Walking in the Rain

Rolling thunder makes a nice soundtrack across the heartland.  The three of us began our pilgrimage from Mound City, Kansas on Monday and now on Saturday have reached Clinton, Missouri, 81 miles east: three days in breezy sunshine and two days in pouring rain.  Angus cattle watch us as we walk along the gravel roads, some horses, too; friendly pet dogs follow us. A graceful owl swooped by one afternoon, all sorts of other birds...even in the rain, it's a pleasant, peaceful walk.

We've been warmly received every night, and being a group of only three pilgrims, we've been invited into homes several nights - that means high comfort for pilgrims.  Third night out, a hamlet was happy to open the community center for us, being easier to facilitate than trying to get permission from the committee of elders who could authorize our using the community church. The liquor store rounds out the offerings of the place. The community center works well for pilgrims.

Another day also ended without a town in range, but an old Presbyterian church sitting in a field served us well. A vintage outhouse in the yard out back gave some authenticity to our tribute to St Rose Philippine. A neighbor provided some drinking and wash water, and added a cooking burner with a pot so we could cook a hot meal for a simple evening.  A few church members came by after our meal, expressing genuine  enthusiasm that their well maintained church with its long-standing member families could serve us so perfectly. Pilgrims are welcome.

We've walked by a parcel of high-grass prairie, seen the world's smallest tombstone, and passed through the 'baby chick capital of the world'. Pilgrimland rocks.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

RE: Starting point in Mound City


Blessings as your journey begins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sr. Glavin, rscj

Starting point in Mound City

Sent from my iPhone, so short.

Introducing St Rose Philippine Duchesne

The next pilgrimage has begun already.  I've met two pilgrims - Roscoe and Jim - in Kansas City, Kansas, USA to commence a pilgrimage dedicated to a teaching nun who came from France in 1818 and opened the first school west of the Mississippi the same year. Next year, 2018, the modern sisters of her Sacred Heart of Jesus congregation are celebrating the bicentennial. The dozens of Sacred Heart Catholic Schools in North America blossomed from her efforts then. It's my hope that our pilgrimage now will also serve as an exploratory expedition to inspire other pilgrims to celebrate the life and legacy of St Rose Philippine during her bicentennial year and beyond.

St Rose Philippine desired to teach Native Americans as a young woman in France. She had a bumpy ride during and after the French Revolution but eventually arrived in St Charles, Missouri in 1818. Starting several schools and accepting many women into the Sacred Heart Society, she finally came to the area of eastern Kansas in 1841 to teach the children of the Potowatomi tribe. The Shrine of St Rose Philippine Duchesne in Mound City is therefore our starting point.

Our pilgrim plan is to walk through farmland for the next week or so to Clinton, Missouri then get on the Katy Trail - a wonderfully accessible rail-to-trail route to her tomb at the shrine, tomb, and original school in St Charles, Missouri. In total, we will take 25 days to walk the 328(ish) miles (~500 kilometers). Most of the path is broad and flat. More than half of the distance is along the left bank of the Missouri River. I'm particularly looking forward to the many vineyards along the path.

We began our effort with a encouraging pilgrim blessing by Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City, KS in his chapel this morning and were driven to this starting point 70 miles south of the city. The shrine in Mound City can comfortably host pilgrims. Already, the effort to just get to the starting line has been filled with the joys that come when people help people... warm and friendly support that pilgrims need. Thanks to all who have helped us so far.

Because the school children of the Sacred Heart School in St Charles will be following us, everybody who who wants to follow us benefit with more frequent updates - promise!  To get more details about St Rose Philippine and bicentennial activities, visit without hesitation

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Made it!

I arrived easily into Nagasaki City yesterday on a bright spring afternoon.  Bustling with tourists, a cruise ship in the harbor, everybody's excited about the blossoming cherry trees.  (I'm trying to see it, but - big whoop, a few thousand cherry trees... yawn.)  A bit sunburned now and in short sleeves again after the long winter's walk, I'm happy to have completed the pilgrimage.  An interesting pilgrimage, though nothing particularly dangerous - no major earthquakes or tsunamis, a couple of snowstorms, but no blizzards... no men with guns, forgiving terrain - the worst of the worse was a small spider bit that left puffiness - not even proper swelling, and then forgotten the next day... so, not boring, but a very tame pilgrimage.

Statistically: 166 days; 161 walking days.  139 nights hosted by some sort of Catholic community (parishes, monasteries, convents, missions, families of parishes) which is remarkable in a country with less than one half of one percent of the population being Catholic.  Eight nights hosted by Buddhist temples - all very impressed that I'm actually walking and actually mendicant.  In total, 5,607 kilometers (3,484 miles) for a pilgrim-life total (10 years) of 51,125 kilometers (31,768 miles).  As a bonus pilgrimage within a pilgrimage, I visited 22 of the 52 historic churches on the Goto Islands, which would be a lovely one to complete in a leisurely week or two on foot or easy week on bicycle any time of year.

While Japanese cuisine is not my favorite - a devotee to the sud-France palette of flavors - I failed to drop the standard annual bulk I work hard to gain in late summer.  So, I've finished this long winter's walk a bit ragged and tattered, but far from emaciated.  I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but it reflects the society I keep, I suppose.  Japan is a land of abundance.  I sat on many a floor eating raw fish with little sticks - 'just like our ancestors' and truly enjoyed the company of delightful and gracious strangers.

Computers have been difficult to find, and access to emails particularly an obstacle on this pilgrimage - I did try to update the blog regularly, it just didn't work.  I'll do better (I hope) on next winter's pilgrimage.  Next winter: dedicated to St Martin of Tours (for non-Catholics; beefy dude on a horse with a red cape and short kilt who did his thing in 4th century Europe).  As he had been a soldier along the Roman frontier, I plan to walk the length of the Danube River in Romania to its source in Germany, then continue to where he left his mark in cities of France: final destination - his tomb in Tours, for Easter.  Could be a bit of April in Paris next year.

Meanwhile, I continue to help other pilgrims in the 'off season' beginning next week with a 500 kilometer trek along the Missouri River in the central part of the US in dedication to St Rose Philippine Duchesne, a feisty educator who opened the first school west of the Mississippi River nearly 200 years ago.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for your interest.