fredag 4. mai 2012

Caro pellegrini

Raffaele with Brio, our pellegrino numero uno!

Taking part in this pilgrim walk on the Via Francigena del sud stirs up many emotions in us pellegrini. We are happy to be only one day's walk from Rome, our destination. But, we are also - as true pilgrims should be - humble to be near the end of our journey.

We are grateful and touched by the warm and generous hospitality we have experienced along the way. Our Italian hosts have looked after us  - and guided us through Lazio - the most beautiful part of Italy - where the local population has showed us their treasures and made us feel very welcome.

It's a privilege to be part of this adventure; to revive the old pilgrim ways to Rome - and to have made friends with the most wonderful group of pilgrim entusiasts, the Gruppo dei Dodici . . . Led by the most notorious of enthusiasts - Alberto "the great"; he is truly the torch-bearer and the heart of the Via Francigena del sud.

We come from all corners of the world as so-called 'peregrini'. The Latin word Peregrinus literally means stranger. And in a way we are just that, strangers in a foreign land. But as pilgrims - we transcend the national borders and become citizens of the world-wide pilgrim nation.

You may wonder why we voluntarily set out on such a journey on foot - giving up the comfort of our daily lives - in exchange for walking 20 km or more each day for two weeks; through rain, hail and sunshine, with sore feet and blisters. And yet - this is what we have been looking forward to - and we are truly happy to be part of this wonderful adventure.

With your permission, let me remind you of the blessings and perhaps also the virtues of being a pilgrim:

We have:

Silence (comme ci comme ca)
No worries (simplified for the pellegrini from down under ;-)
Sharing and friendship
and last, but not least - we have Spirituality. *

We pellegrini from foreign lands would like to say mille grazie to our excellent guides - and also to each other; for help and support, for sharing, encouragement and friendship. We will have many fond memories to treasure.

Now, we would like to show our apreciation to our wonderful fellow pilgrims and guides. Alberto, Aureliano, Mimo, Raffaele, Michele, Emilio and Nicola; would you please step forward.
Thank you so much for making this pilgrimage possible. We love you, and may God bless you.
Speech given by Stein and Emilio during the pilgrim party at the Istuto S Guiseppe, Castelgandolfo 30 April 2012.

* Thanks to
Pilgrimssentrum Vadstena for the seven pilgrim blessings

Visit Il Cammino per Roma 2012 website (in Italian and  English)

La Via Francigena del Sud Facebook group

My Italian Journey Photo Album

Published 4 May 2012 on board Norwegian flight DY1873 from Rome via Oslo to Trondheim. Altitude: 11 583 m. Speed: 880 km/h

Pilgrim wisdom:
  • To make many new friends, that is the real holy miracle of the Camino.
  • Everything that has a beginning has to come to an end. Make your peace with that and all will be well.