For the Traveller- Kildare Ministries Pilgrimage to Ireland 2019
How many of us have left home to visit places of old that are very familiar in both people and memory? How many of us journey to unknown places only to encounter people unfamiliar, sights unseen and experiences to embrace?
In 2008 I travelled to Uganda, Africa for three weeks working in a small school and hospital with those disadvantaged by poverty, disease and conflict. This unknown place awakened my heart to many things. The greatest gift was my heart awakening to the stranger, the sick and the marginalised. The unknown was now known to me. Uganda became home for the next 6 years. Isn’t God grand!
As our Pilgrims prepare for Pilgrimage to Ireland (18th September to 4th October, 2019) I recall the prophetic words of John O’Donohue in his poem ‘For the Traveler’. He invites us upon new paths to encounter new strangers and new places. John urges us to bring ourselves along to experience a new heart, a new way of seeing and even a new way of being. Like John, I pray that as Pilgrims of Kildare Ministries we open ourselves to the awakening heart within us as we walk the winding lanes and roads that rise to meet us.
Pray for our Pilgrims
Brendan Lynch (Star of the Sea College, Brighton)
Robyn Killoran (Brigidine College, Indooroopilly)
Brigitte Garofalo (Killester College. Springvale)
Tania Anticev (Clonard College, Geelong)
Stephen Nash (Kilbreda College, Mentone)
Stephen East (Marian College, Ararat)
May these roads take you into a world that will energise and renew you.
Rosemary Cochrane (Brigidine Sisters NSW)
Claire Hogan (St Joseph’s College, Echuca)
Isabelle Maroun (Killester College, Springvale)
Andrea Grant (Kildare Ministries, Albert Park)
Rachel McAsey (St Joseph’s College, Echuca)
Kate Hall (Brigidine College, Indooroopilly)
May what meets you on these roads touch that part of the heart that lies low at home.
Kellie Bingham (St Joseph’s College, Echuca)
Dalal Smiley (Well Springs)
Jeff Burn (Kildare Education Ministries)
Libby Saunders (Brigidine Asylum Seeker’s Project)
Luci Quinn (Clonard College, Geelong)
Donna Neander (Star of the Sea College, Brighton)
May your insight bring you to the known and illuminate your way.
Michael Baddeley (Marian College, Sunshine West)
Kerrie Williams ( Marian College, Sunshine West)
Paul Spence (Spiritual Director)
Erica Pegorer (Kildare Ministries, Albert Park)
Patricia Buckley (Brigidine Sisters NSW)
Enrico Caprioli (Kildare College, Adelaide)
May your journey become a sacred thing, to bless your going forth and to free your heart of ballast.
As Pilgrims may we travel safely, living our time away to its fullest, returning home more awakened and transformed. Amen
For the Traveler
Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
~ John O’Donohue ~
Paul is a former teacher and Principal and currently works as an independent Spiritual Director and Formator. This is Paul’s second Pilgrimage with Kildare Ministries accompanying Pilgrims as Spiritual Director.