The pilgrimage proceeds on the old Highway nearing the Morinville Greenhouse. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Legal – Fifteen people started the 20 km walk on a pilgrimage from St. Emile Parish in Legal to the St. Jean Baptiste Parish in Morinville on Saturday 28 June. The adults and three children from St. Albert, Morinville and Legal met at the St. Emile Church in Legal at 8 a.m. to receive a blessing from Father Ignacy Warias, OMI and Father Brian Bricker, OP. The walk started an hour later and was completed as a team effort by 2:30 p.m. Each pilgrim received a certificate and souvenir to attest they had completed the journey.
For event organizer, Pierre Rousseau, the journey was not a new experience. “My family and I often walked a very popular pilgrimage from Quebec City to Ste-Anne Basilica,” Rousseau said. “There is something very special about walking. It takes time. It is an invitation to withdraw from the continuous distractions and solicitations of our daily lives. Also, I wanted this to be linked to St. Jean Baptiste Day, a very popular French-Canadian feast on June 24.” That is why it was held on 28 June, the first Saturday after St. Jean Baptiste Day.
The pilgrimage was open to anyone wishing to bring their walking stick and join. It was an opportunity to step aside from their busy lives and to enter a personal journey, alone or with friends or family members. The 20-km walk was estimated to take between six and eight hours, depending on the pace. The journey took place on Range Road 251, Township Road 564 and then Range road 253 up to 100 St. Not everyone had to walk at the same pace, but at each rest station they waited for everyone before continuing on their journey.
Some who took part in the journey carried more than their walking sticks. Rousseau presented a shell to a few of the pilgrims before they started the walk. “The shell is a symbol related to El Camino de Santiago,” Rousseau explained. “For more than 10 centuries now, many pilgrims walk to reach St. Jacques de Compostelle in Spain. It is a 600-km journey through France and Spain. The pilgrims used to carry a shell similar to the ones presented to drink water from streams. With time, it became a symbol associated to the pilgrimage.”
Rousseau said he hoping for the pilgrimage to be an annual event the first Saturday after St. Jean Baptise Day. The departure point could vary, but St. Jean Baptiste Church would remain the destination.
Of the walk Rousseau said, “It is absolutely free and it should be this way. It is not a fundraising event and it should not be. It has nothing to do with money and it should not be it is a personal journey.”
Father Ignacy Warias, omi Pastor St. Emile Parish and St. Jean Baptiste Parish and Father Brian Bricker, op, Assistant Pastor handed out water before the start of the walk.
Pierre Rousseau holding one of the shells he presented to one of the pilgrims before departing on the walk.
The group to complete the Pilgrimage from Legal to Morinville on 28 June were presented with their certificates and a souvenir. Standing: Catherine Dumoulin, Meriem Kieser, Maelle Dumoulin, Monique Cyr, Jean Dumoulin, Pat Earles, Pierre Rousseau, Allan Damer. Seated: Tara Kieser, Anita De O’Campo, Gabriel Dumoulin, Thibaut Dumoulin and Lucille Damer. Absent from photo: Lorraine Hebert and Claire McKale.
– Lucie Roy Photo
Tara Kieser with her certificate.