Louise de Marillac Virtual Pilgrimage
Follow in the footsteps of Saint Louise de Marillac. The stops on the pilgrimage are numbered in order. Click on the map to start your journey.
“To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendor and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.” Pope Benedict XVI – Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: November 6, 2010.
Pilgrimages have been part of many religions, cultures, and traditions throughout human history. The Jewish celebration of Passover would bring thousands to Jerusalem to make pilgrimage to the Temple before its destruction by the Romans. Christians participate in ancient pilgrimages that take them to the Holy Land, to Rome, and to Santiago de Compostela. Muslims for over a thousand years have made their way to Mecca, retracing the steps of the Prophet.
There are pilgrimages to secular destinations, too. Some pilgrims visit deeply moving sites, such as Auschwitz or Hiroshima or the September 11th Memorial, in order to stand in solidarity with the victims of humanity’s capacity for evil. Others spend time in completely different journeys to Comic Con, Hollywood, or Lallapalooza.
The connection between all of these seems to be the idea of stepping outside of ourselves in order to see things differently. To meet others along the journey. To set a goal and meet a goal that reveals things we would not have discovered had we not taken the first step.
A pilgrimage can be virtual as well as actual. The ancient tradition of the Stations of the Cross and praying the Rosary are types of virtual pilgrimages that take us to a different space as we recall the various places or experiences connected to the life of Jesus.
The Camino de Saint Louise is our Vincentian way of taking a journey towards an amazing woman of faith, service, and love. While we cannot actually retrace the steps or sites of the life of Saint Louise, we can virtually enter into the sacred spaces that help us meet her in a spiritual way. Who was she? Where did she live and how did she follow God’s plan for her? How is she remembered? What does she have to tell us today that will deepen our own faith?
The root of the word pilgrim means stranger. When it comes to making a pilgrimage of any kind, we can think of this root meaning in two ways. First, each of us can feel like a stranger when it comes to figuring out our faith life, especially during these pandemic times. Second, the saints we go to meet along the journey of our pilgrimage are strangers until we encounter them. Let us go together as pilgrims, maybe starting off as strangers and ending up as members of a faith community. Let’s take the first step and get to know Saint Louise de Marillac.
Saint Louise de Marillac believed that true faith was faith in active service, especially service of the poor. She was also deeply contemplative. How do you see yourself experiencing service while actively helping others who are in need in today’s world?