Monday, August 23, 2010

The Pilgrims Who Traveled...

This is a photo of all of us (well, almost all of us), taken in the chapel at Bethlehem University. The art in the Church remembers martyrs----specifically children who were martyred, beginning with the Holy Innocents, pictured on the walls behind us surrounding the main altar. The photo also includes the two students from Bethlehem U (second and third from the left, in the second row--clearly younger than the rest of us!) who met with us earlier in the day.

The women who made this retreat journey come from all over the United States, from different religious traditions----yet we all were seeking to somehow encounter and touch the holy. On the first day of our retreat, Sr Marianne (one of our amazing leaders!) told us that the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim is this: Tourists pass through the land, while pilgrims allow the land to pass through them.

As I reflected on this through our retreat, I kept returning to the sense of 'intention.' What did I intend to do, see, accomplish? I didn't go to see buildings. I didn't go to see 'stuff.' I didn't have a terribly specific set of goals in mind. I know that I am always telling people that they should make time for spiritual things, for retreats, for prayer. And I know that I can't give what I don't have. So, I went to spend some time apart, in the land where our faith has roots---and remember. I remembered. I prayed. I wept. I sang. I photographed the places I visited. I wrote in my journal, and shared some of what I wrote in this blog. I find that the photographs have become a source of prayer and meditation for me. People have asked me what souvenirs I brought back----I didn't shop much. I brought back photos to help me keep the memories.

The women who were part of the retreat are amazing---and I learned so much from being part of our collective journey.

1 comment:

JosephMcG said...

Thanks for the pictures and the reflection... I shall do what I can to let life pass through me rather than me just passing over the land...

take care