Pilgrimpace's Blog

food for the journey
August 19, 2017, 10:16 am
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Sometimes there is not much time in a day for reading and reflecting.  I’ve recently signed up to get a daily email which contains a very short piece of challenging wisdom by Henri Nouwen, one of the most interesting Catholic writers of the twentieth century.  This gives something that I can read quickly, but have in my mind to ponder while I am on the move.

The page to sign up for it is here.  Do you have any recommendations for anything like this?

Pilgrimage Bookshelf
March 6, 2017, 7:00 pm
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I recently asked on the excellent Confraternity of St James Group on Facebook what books you would recommend about the Camino or pilgrimage?  Not guidebooks, but those which deepen the experience of walking.  What would you add?  (I have left out books which were suggested by the person who recommended them – and apologies if you suggested something I have forgotten it).

The Road to Santiago – Walter Starkie

Roads to Santiago – Cees Nooteboom

Letter from Mecca – Malcolm X

To the Field of Stars – Kevin Codd

Walk in a Relaxed Manner – Joyce Rupp

The Path to Room and The Old Road – Hilaire Belloc

Pilgrimage – Jonathan Sumption

Ascent to Santiago – Ronald Ottenad

In Search of a Way – Gerard Hughes

The Road to Emmaus – Jim Forrest

The Solace of Fierce Landscapes – Belden Lane

Edwin Mullins – The Pilgrimage to Santiago

Conrad Rudolph – Pilgrimage to the End of the World

Lee Hoinacki – El Camino

Arthur Boers – The Way is Made by Walking

making sense

“Suddenly being here made sense, a sense that couldn’t be explained; on the contrary, it was part of this sense that it musn’t be violated by trying to capture it in words.”

-Pascal Mercier Night Train to Lisbon


I find more and more that all reading takes on the quality of lectio divina, becomes slow and life-giving.


The excellent Solitary Walker Blog has recently asked What are you reading?

I would like to ask the same.  I have a pile of books in front of me.  I intend to read some of these over the summer – which is a time when there is a bit more space for reading.


These include a collection of Neruda’s poems – I want to see what comes of reading The Ascent of Machu Pichu alongside John of the Cross; Andre Louf’s The Cistercian Way will give insight into Cistercian life and spirituality before I walk the Welsh Cistercian Way; similarly, Sacred Britain by Martin and Nigel Palmer will help me reflect on landscape and pilgrimage; Rita Nakashima Brock’s Journeys by Heart will help me think further on some of the things suggested about transformation and energy by Teresa of Avila.  Solea is an excellent European detective novel.

What are you reading?  I would love to know.

reading enkindling love

If you are in Birmingham, you might want to join this group reading Gillian Ahlgren’s excellent Enkindling Love:



This is the title of a new book on the legacy of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross by Professor Gillian Ahlgren who recently spoke about it at All Saints Kings Heath. About it Alison Weber of the University of Virginia has written: …”This guide of Teresa and John’s major works reveals the Spanish mystics as passionate teachers and systematic theologians determined to share their transformative experience of God’s love. Gillian Ahlgren makes accessible their major insight: the inherent coherence between contemplation and loving action in the world.”

The book is in print and the cheapest deal seems to be just under £20 from the Book Depository. In one case the book came 7 days after an order was placed by email to:


The group meets from 12.30 to 13.30 on a Wednesday. Members often bring and eat sandwiches. Its first meeting is to be as usual at the Queen’s Foundation, Somerset Road, B15 2QH (for directions see their website) in the Samuel Marsden Room just off the dining room. The date is to be Wednesday June 22nd. It is a ten minutes walk from University railway station.

The next three meetings, on July 6th, 20th and August 3rd, will, because Queen’s term will have finished, be elsewhere, in a room at the church and centre complex of St Francis Bournville, B30 1JY, five minutes walk from Bournville railway station. All are welcome.

The book has four chapters and the intention would be to study one at each meeting.

Further details from: The Revd John Nightingale johnbnightingale@hushmail.com 07811 128831who will be glad to know the names of those intending to attend.

wendell berry
April 29, 2016, 4:24 pm
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I love Wendell Berry’s poetry.  I like to read a poem from This Day each week – there is always something that illustrates what it is to live and connects me to the earth while not shying away from what is difficult.  They touch on wholeness more than any writer I know.


There is a great posting about Berry in Brainpickings here.  If you don’t know Brainpickings, it is well worth subscribing to, a wonderful piece of creativity falling into inbox each Sunday like a scoop of good icecream.

The last few weeks have been good but very full.  I am enjoying a couple of days to catch up and restore myself.  It’s been wonderful today to work in the garden a bit, to do some writing, to read.  And this blog is another earthing in reflective practice.

A Homecoming

One faith is bondage. Two
are free. In the trust
of old love, cultivation shows
a dark and graceful wilderness
at its heart. Wild
in that wilderness, we roam
the distance of our faith;
safe beyond the bounds
of what we know. O love,
open. Show me
my country. Take me home.

– Wendell Berry

nature writing – 5
May 2, 2015, 8:11 am
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I seem to have accrued quite a pile of books that are to do with nature to read:


This lot will probably take me about 18 months to get through – I’m a very slow reader and I like to read novels, theology and urban studies too.  There are a few differences with the last photo.  More books by women; a bit more of a turn towards the urban.  I’m looking forward to this …