Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning to trust God - through Spain, pain, rain

Trudging on along the 500-mile “Way of St. James,” through the heat, blisters, barking muscles, rain, and a seemingly never-ending trail, Sister Jeana Visel said the seeking of God kept her going for those 21 days.

It had been a 12-year dream of hers to walk the ancient path in northern Spain, the most popular Christian pilgrim route in the world. Also known as the Camino de Santiago, it’s patterned after a trek in the year 950 by a French monk to visit the remains of the Apostle St. James in Santiago de Compostela.

Over 100,000 pilgrims tackle the Camino annually, most wishing to find physical and spiritual renewal.

Sister Jeana, 33, a graduate student in Monastic Studies at St. John’s University – School of Theology in Collegeville, Minnesota, was in a group of seven from the college who undertook the pilgrimage.
She correctly anticipated the journey would be sacred. And even though that’s what her monastic life is all about as a Benedictine, her recent trip still proved to be a huge life lesson.

The first lesson – that she could live on a lot less -- came early, after a long day of walking in extreme heat with a too-heavy backpack that culminated in the humbling experience of puking in front of her fellow travelers. She took it as God grabbing her attention, telling her to get rid of excess baggage, that she couldn’t complete the journey without a lot of help and support. Kind of like life itself.

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