One of my intentions for Lent is to begin a practice of walking as a sacred pilgrimage. To that end, I have set a goal of walking 140 miles between now and All Saints Sunday…almost nine months from now. This is the same distance as between Vezalay and Chartres, France.
In my mind, I will be retracing a sacred journey that was taken by the original Sisters of Belle Coeur in the book “Ink and Honey” by Sibyl Dana Reynolds. In this historical novel, Sibyl introduces us to a group of holy women from the thirteenth century who struggle against great odds as they “navigate spiritual terrain where faith and creative passion forge the way to labyrinths and cathedrals, hidden rooms and honey drenched hives. This book is alive with women’s ancient wisdom and spiritual practices to inform our lives today.” (Kathleen Adams, author of Journal to the Self and Scribing the Soul.)
Between now and the First Sunday of Lent, I am going to find me a walking stick as a reminder to continue my pilgrimage on the Holy Road until I reach my destination of reuniting with the Belle Coeur Sisters of today on The Feast of All Saints, Nov. 1st. On that day I will be on retreat with our current contemporary, contemplative community of the Sisters of Belle Coeur where I will walk the labyrinth designed by one of our sisters as I give thanks for this sacred pilgrimage.
“We are pilgrims on the Holy Road. Far from home are we. Show us the way. As we walk and pray. Alleluia, alleluia. Amen and amen. We are pilgrims on the Holy Road. Onward we go. Make us strong. The way is long. Alleluia, Alleluia. Amen and Amen.” (I & H, p. 295)
(The photo is of me with my last walking stick back in 1978 when I was a Girl Scout Leader. L. to R. My daughter Chris, me, my friend Mary and her daughter Chrissy.)