By Lizzie, 15, Penrith
Over the Pentecost weekend, one hundred British pilgrims and I joined thousands of Catholics in an epic journey across France from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres. The 70 mile walk took us two and a half days to complete and these were filled with songs, prayers, Masses and lots of sun. While walking along in the British chapter, carrying the banners of St Alban and Our Lady of Walsingham as well as several Union Jacks, we bonded over sore feet and steadfast determination to reach our goal. We were given several upliftingmeditations a day encouraging us to live life like the saints and, as Saint Francis would have done, learn to accept ‘brother mud’ and ‘sister blister’ without complaint. Obviously the experience was a challenge for all but none could refute the fact that it was worth every visit from ‘sister blister’ when we finally reached our goal and marched up the final hill to the cathedral, singing loudly, accompanied by the thunder rolling over our heads. Seeing Chartres cathedral lit by lightning was truly spectacular; I will never forget that final march in the storm. When we settled down for the last Mass of the pilgrimage and the sun broke through the clouds every heart was filled with a happiness and satisfaction that overroad all tiredness. On this pilgrimage we all made firm friends, shared excitement, pain and joy as well as sweets and water. For me one of the best parts is meeting these new people and seeing the thousands of Catholics who all share my beliefs and my faith. We really did all feel like a family and, as a 15 year old girl who grew up in the countryside, it is not often that I experience that feeling. The Chartres pilgrimage is probably the most incredible thing I have done in my life and the experience is so compelling that I am certain I will be back again and again. It brought the faith alive for me and created memories that will never leave. I look forward to next year.