Tiny Island off the Coast of Scotland is the Perfect Pilgrimage Destination
My life of travel, in these later years and even before that, seems to show a strong pattern of quest. Of pilgrimages: a search for meaning, for new knowledge and insight, and for religious reflection.
I know I am not unique in this often-restless search for greater meaning. It's in the human condition.
In high school, I had opportunities for occasional weekends of silence and meditation, through a church-based group called Youth Corps. Then at the University of Toronto at the Catholic college, there were routinely scheduled, though not mandatory, days of talks and prayer.
This was in the 1950s, and the sessions consisted of the presentation of ideas and inspiration; talks largely given by a priest, not even by a nun; lit candles in the chapel, and readings from Christian scripture.
Then as newlyweds, with the struggles of new relationships, and with a grievous, early bereavement, my husband and I were strengthened by Marriage Encounter weekends, offered by the churches.
I am still always alert to centres of contemplation.
I have spent time at Oka in Quebec, on the Camino in Spain, at Loyola House in Guelph, the Desert House of Prayer near Tucson, Arizona, and at Villa St. Joseph in Cobourg.
Even great art galleries can be sites of meditation, such as the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. As can walks, paddles and sleeping out in creation.
Then a year ago I heard that a much-admired friend, Rev. Bob Root of Peterborough's Mark Street United Church, had led pilgrimages to the remote island of Iona, off Scotland's west coast.
Considered for many centuries a sacred isle, a "thin place" between the human and the sacred, Iona had been settled in 563 by St. Columba, a monk who came by small boat from Ireland with 12 followers. He farmed and built an abbey, wrote and missionized.
Continue Reading >HERE<