On Pilgrimage

We went on pilgrimage today to Royal Leamington Spa, the town where our founder Margaret Anna Cusack spent her last days and is buried. Sr. Alexine (who I live with here in London) was our capable driver, getting us there and back safely. Sr. Joan was our expert guide. She has spent many years researching our history and founding story.

First stop was the cemetery where we found Margaret Anna's grave after a bit of looking. We had brought a heather plant with us to leave at the grave, and Joan had brought along some readings and a prayer. It was quite moving.

"Here rests our beloved foundress Mother Francis Clare Cusack. We gather here together at this moment in our history to celebrate with gratitude her life and death. We approach this time with love and care, mercy and mystery. We know this can be a blessed time of reconciliation and redirection. We pray that we may be open to where the Spirit is leading us. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen."

We then stopped by the local Catholic Church, aptly named St. Joseph's. It is a newly built church - early 1970's by the look of it. I took the opportunity to light three candles - one for each of us three novices - and say a prayer for us and our future with the Congregation, following in the footsteps of Margaret Anna.

Next stop was the Landsdowne Crescent, which was where Margaret Anna stayed while she was in Leamington and where she died. She was in very ill health by this point, and presumably was in Leamington to "take the waters" to improve her health. I later bought a few post cards with a picture of the building on it. It seems to be a bit of a landmark in the town, although not because our founder died there.

Here's a statue of Queen Victoria, who is said to have visited Leamington from time to time, hence the "Royal" bit.

I must say it was a very moving day. Perhaps the best part was sitting in the car with Joan and Alexine as we shared bits and pieces of our founding story and tried to put it all together. Much of it was already familiar to me, but as I discovered in El Salvador there is something that happens when you hear a story in its original context.

I am happy to have been able to make this little pilgrimage today. More than that, I continue to feel the presence of Margaret Anna and all those Sisters and Associates who have followed her as I walk my own journey on the path to peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written, could just sense your peace and love that you are experiencing on your journey.
Peace :)