Pilgrimpace's Blog


pilgrims on the pilgrims way

Last year I wrote about pilgrim traces on the eastern section of the Pilgrims Way here.  I was not disappointed in what we encountered in this month’s section.  Indeed, for me, the journey took on more and more of the characteristics of a pilgrimage with every step I took towards Canterbury.

There were ancient traces, the most evocative being in Detling.  On this street

is a Tudor Gateway

behind which was a domus hospitur or refuge for pilgrims.  This information plaque tells all about it (click on the image to enlarge the text):

I was reminded of the ruinous medieval albergue Meenakshi and I rested outside of at Sigras on the Camino Ingles:

At tea time on our second day (and we’d been up since dawn, so it felt later) we arrived at the Vigo Inn.  This place is excellent and deserves support.  Andy and Val welcomed us with open arms and invited us to camp in their field.  They knew about the pilgrimage and valued pilgrims.

 

view from the tent as I went to sleep – in the morning mist meant there was no view

The route was reminiscent of the Caminos in Spain in that it goes through towns and villages on the way to Canterbury, mixed in with some beautiful walking.  On this walk through the world, there are some spectacular constructions including the Medway Bridge which has a dedicated footpath (there was a man with a big rucksack on the other side who we couldn’t catch).

For myself, there was a significant interior journey reflecting the outer one.  Much of this was to do with the continuing realisation that if I am to thrive in the ministry I live, I have to trust in and rely on God – again a deepening of hard won insights from the Camino.  On returning home, I found this quote from St Therese of Lisieux which sums so much of this up for me:

Teach us to let go of what is unnecessary.

As on the Camino I found a deepening devotion to St James, so on the Pilgrims Way I am finding a devotion to St Thomas Becket.  I am looking forward so much to the  arrival promised arrival in Canterbury Cathedral in the summer.

As readers of this blog will know, I believe that contemporary pilgrimage informs us how to live in the world we find ourselves in.  More reflections on this to follow.

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