Next week I leave on a pilgrimage.  I’m flying to Madrid, Spain, to join my daughter, Sarah, on the Camino del Norte.  It’s one of 12 ancient pilgrimage routes through the Spanish countryside, towns, and cities, with all paths leading to Santiago de Compostela, a city in the region of Galicia, in northwestern Spain.  St. James, one of Jesus’ disciples, is said to have been buried within the cathedral there.


A pilgrimage is meant to be spirit-renewing.  May it be so!  Pilgrimage also is a powerful metaphor for every journey with the purpose of finding something that matters deeply to the traveler.  Any journey can become a spiritual exercise, an act of devotion, a journey of risk and renewal.


In my preparatory reading, I have been touched by Linus Mundy’s simple steps for “A Guided Prayer-Walk,” which can be undertaken while walking the Camino in Spain or simply while strolling with your soul around the block. I urge you to try this wherever you can!


Step 1:  Look up – remember that my journey is a journey with God.

Guide my feet, O God. Direct me along your path.  Teach me to walk more by faith, less by sight.  May my walk be to walk toward you, but even more importantly, a walk with you.  Amen.


Step 2:  Look down – remember that my journey is grounded in the world I live in.

Lord, let me realize that while I know I need to “look up,” I also need to “look down” here on earth, lest I stumble and fall.  There can be…no real relationship with this magnificent planet, until I abide with it a while and call it home.  I remain a stranger passing through, until I decide for myself not just to pass through, but to dig down and dig in.  Amen.


Step 3:  Look back – remember that a journey toward something is a journey away from something else.  As I walk ahead, I notice the footprints I’ve left behind, back where I’ve been.

God, keep me mindful of yesterday, but don’t let me live there only.  Jesus taught, “Today has enough cares of its own.”  Help me to remember times I thought I was all alone and suddenly found you there alongside me.  Help me too, to know that whatever it is back there behind me on the trail – even if it’s gaining on me – we can handle it together if it should catch up with us.  Amen.


Step 4:  Look around – I am on holy ground now.

What have I been waiting for?  I know mystic Julian’s prayer, “and all will be well, and all will be well, and all will be very, very well,” but now I want to pray, “and all IS well and all IS well and all is very, very well.”  What makes it so?  The company I keep and the Company I keep.  Walk with me Lord, all the way home.  Amen.


Step 5:  Look ahead – the end takes us back to the beginning.  And leaves us refreshed.  Join me in praying with Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.  Amen.


Buen Camino!


Which step speaks to you this day?


-written by Rev. Ann Palmerton


  1. Bill Kelley July 14, 2021 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Ann- May you experience the Blessings God’s Presence within you, between you and Sarah, and more in depth than each breath as you together walk your pilgrimage.

    • Ann July 15, 2021 at 8:10 am - Reply

      Thank you, Bill! I carry your blessing in my heart.

  2. Gini Curphey July 14, 2021 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    I love every thing about this Ann! I am so grateful for the special journey you and Sarah have together! Safe travels 💗

    • Ann July 15, 2021 at 8:11 am - Reply

      Thank you, Gini!

  3. Lynn Stumpf July 14, 2021 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    This is wonderful Ann! I hope you have an amazing time with your daughter, wishing you safe travels!🥰

    • Ann July 15, 2021 at 8:11 am - Reply

      Thank you, Lynn!

  4. Barbara Northrup July 14, 2021 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful piece Ann. Thank you for sharing and may your experience be rich and transformative as well as grounded.

    • Ann July 15, 2021 at 8:12 am - Reply

      Thank you, Barb! May it be so!

  5. Susan Dutton July 14, 2021 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Hello Ann, Beth Petrie shared this with us, as we are embarking on the Camino right after Will’s wedding over Labor Day weekend. Can’t wait–postponed from last year, and quite a while in the imagining. We will be doing the northern route from St. Jean de Pied-de-Terre in the Pyrenees, taking six weeks. This is lovely. We, too are trying to read about such an adventure and now will look up Linus Mundy. Safe travels, wishing you and your daughter all of the awe and wonder available during such a precious time together! Susan Dutton and Tom Szykowny (not of BSPC, but almost feel as if we are honorary members!)

    • Ann July 15, 2021 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Susan, thanks for sharing in the excitement of our upcoming Caminos! A wonderful book that is helping me prepare is The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, by Phil Cousineau, (Conari Press, 1998). It’s a classic and I highly recommend it. All the best to you and Tom as you prepare to depart this fall. Buen Camino!

  6. tom szykowny July 14, 2021 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Blessings and happy trails. Susan and I leave for the Camino on Labor Day (St Jean starting point). Thank you for sharing so helpful as we prepare for the spiritual part of the sojourn.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:28 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, and all good wishes to you and Susan as you open yourselves to your Camino!

  7. Jodi Jarrett July 14, 2021 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    This is wonderful Ann! I saw this walk on a travel show and was very moved by it and hope to someday. May you and Sarah be blessed on your journey.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jodi!

  8. Michael K July 14, 2021 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Jealous, safe travels!

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Ahhh! Thank you, Michael!

  9. Libby Wetherholt July 14, 2021 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Bon Voyage! Buen Viaje! Siwrne dda! I look forward to hearing about it in the fall.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Thank you, Libby!

  10. Sharon Walters July 14, 2021 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    What a joy to get to spend this journey with Sarah. God be with you as you travel.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:31 am - Reply

      Thank you, Sharon!

  11. Sallie Sherman July 14, 2021 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Wishing you safe and renewing travel. Be sure to attend the travels’ mass at the end & sit on the sides. Incredibly moving. Blessings to you and Sarah.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Thank you, Sallie! A question about the traveler’s mass at the end – why do you suggest we sit on the sides?

  12. Annette Kuss July 15, 2021 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Wow! Blessings to you snd Sarah on this amazing journey! Be safe and share when you can do we can walk along with you both.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Thank you, Annette – will do!

  13. Barbara Blanke July 16, 2021 at 10:17 am - Reply

    This is beautiful and I hope to take a prayer walk in one of our many parks . I love the idea of looking up, down and behind for reflection.
    Say hi to Sarah. I hope you both have a safe and meaningful experience.

    • Ann Palmerton July 16, 2021 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Thank you, Barb!

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