Network Norwich and Norfolk > People > East Anglia pilgrim completes 2,000 km walk to Rome

MaryKirkRome750
East Anglia pilgrim completes 2,000 km walk to Rome 

East Anglia Catholic, 69-year-old Mary Kirk, has successfully completed an epic 2,000 km pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome, shedding tears of emotion and relief as she walked into St Peter’s Square last week. Keith Morris reports.

Mary, who worships in Harleston in the Catholic Parish of St Edmunds (Bungay), spent 75 days on the road walking through five countries - England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican. A knee injury forced her to take a break mid journey to recover, but she finished the route known as the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome on Friday October 21, walking the final kilometres with two fellow pilgrims from Switzerland.

“To be with people with whom one can without embarrassment shed tears of emotion and relief as one arrives in St Peter’s Square was a privilege,” said Mary, who lives near Halesworth.

“I did the pilgrimage as a Catholic in this Year of Mercy, mindful of my need of mercy, but knowing in my heart that pilgrimage is in the journey, and that the trappings of arrival are but symbols of what has gone on inside oneself.

“It is too soon to know what I feel, what if anything has changed, what perspectives shifted. I have experienced the incredible kindness and generosity of strangers. I have seen faith and love in action. I know how dependent I am on others, and how much we are all interdependent.

“It has, I hope, taught me trust, for so many angels attended me in my travels, and came to my aid when I was lost, miserable, in pain or need. More than anything, perhaps, it has provided proof yet again that bonds become swiftly strong when we are stripped of what in “normal” life defines us – our jobs, cars, houses, possessions, clothes, accents. With none of the factors that cause us, even unconsciously, to judge, we relate to the other within the moment, and intensely. Is this perhaps ‘the kingdom of God’?”

Mary received a Latin certificate, the Testimonium, awarded to those who have walked the final 100km or more to the tomb of Peter, after providing proof with a pilgrim passport stamped every day in churches, ostelli (pilgrim hostels), convents, town halls, and even bars or hotels as proof of passage.

Mary was walking in support of refugees “who are travelling in the opposite direction to escape war and horror”, and for the homeless in the UK, and she raised around £1000 for Refugee Action and Shelter.

You can read a blog of Mary’s journey at: http://quovadis-walkingtorome.uk/
www.justgiving.com/Mary-Kirk2 (Refugee Action)
www.justgiving.com/Mary-Kirk3 (Shelter)
 
Pictured is Mary Kirk in St Peter’s Square in Rome after her epic 2,000km pilgrimage.


Do you appreciate our service and stories?

The Network Norwich & Norfolk website has been published for over 13 years now and we have an established team of professional journalists covering the activities, organisations and churches which make up the county’s Christian community. Our whole purpose is to support that community by daily providing accurate, unbiased stories and features.

To pay for that service, we rely on our partner organisations, advertisers and readers to, in turn, support us financially. We want to keep the website free for everyone to access and continue to be able to pay for writers to produce the content you can enjoy every day.

We would like to ask you to consider supporting our work and suggest you might want to make a small regular donation of just £1 a week and become one of our 100 Friends, or a larger one-off or annual amount.

Because we are part of a registered charity we can reclaim Gift Aid on your donations if you are a tax-payer.

Click here to fill out a standing order form and to add an extra 25% for free via Gift Aid

Click below to donate instantly via a credit or debit card or Paypal


 Recommended reading 
Not rated. Write the first review or comment
ImpressBloc640
Site Search

 Norfolk services........ 

 Accommodation......... 


Twitter-button  facebookbutton

 

Sign up for our
free e-newsletter


Send us your latest local news and events