To the happiness of pilgrims

To the happiness of pilgrims

© Christiane Laval

“Here is a map of Paris from the 14th century, it will show us the route!” It is by brandishing this document that Béatrice Hignard, historian and tour guide, follows in the footsteps of the 70 people who responded, on this Saturday, June 20, 2015, to the invitation for this Jacobean walk.

Slideshow. When the spirit of Compostela reigns over Paris.

The spirit of Compostela reigns over Paris from Pèlerin Video on Vimeo.

Shells, statues and other vestiges of the pilgrimage: nothing will escape the discerning eye of this guide who will also make a stop at the foot of the Saint-Jacques tower, where the apostle sits, and will end this walk at the Cluny museum, whose facade is studded with the emblems of the pilgrimage.

At Forum104, the day before, it was Freddy Mouchard who opened this event with his film Compostelle, the path of life.

Full house for this beautiful evening of sharing and exchange, where the pilgrims showed their gratitude to the director:

Thank you for helping us understand the meaning of our journey a little better.

It was also at Forum104 that the first edition of this event continued on Saturday, after the Jacquaire visit. “To each his own way”: such was the theme of the round table moderated by Gilles Donada who, with François-Xavier Maigre, Olivier Lemire, Karen Guillorel and Edouard Cortès, attempted to define the spirituality specific to five pilgrimages: Mont- Saint-Michel, Compostela, Rome, Jerusalem, Assisi. “

Crossing borders; accept reality; transmission; present time; roots; resourcing; renewal; interiority “

Words flow, souls give in, paths take shape, hearts open.

A great introduction to the “Pilgrim Speed ​​Dating” where 30 projects were exhibited… in thirty minutes: a challenge joyfully taken up by the speakers, who the public then found around the stands, in the Forum garden.

“I gleaned information on the most popular routes,” says Isabelle, “such as the paths of Saint-Jacques, Saint Martin, Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Gilles, Tro Breiz, Rocamadour, etc. ‘Assisi or Rome, but also on those, less known, of Saint-Guilhem, Saint-Régis or Rocamadour.

And the visit to these stands still held many surprises, because five new routes were represented there: the paths of Saint Yves and the path of the three abbeys in Brocéliande, for Brittany, the path of Saint Ignace in Spain, the path Charles Péguy towards Chartres, and the paths from Vézelay to Autun.

It would have taken a whole day to discover the forty stands which presented not only these itineraries, but also innovative projects: “I was very happy to publicize the Casita Mandala, an ecological hostel in donative (free participation in costs) which we will open on the Camino Primitive in Asturias,” declares Maxime Leurent.

Besides him, three other projects were also dedicated to hospitality: Ephatta, an accommodation website inspired by the values ​​of pilgrimage routes; le Creuset de Noisy, the first Jacquaire refuge in donative in Ile-de-France designed as part of an integration project for people in difficulty; and the launch of a campaign crowdfunding for the creation of a place of pilgrim reception in Assisi, La Ruah.

© Freddy Snitch

The public also enjoyed meeting around ten authors who signed their works. Next year, the winner of the Pilgrim Prize for pilgrimage stories will be honored, a competition which was launched that day and which will be awarded each year on the occasion of this Forum.

A Forum for ages 7 to 77… and more!

There is no age to get started! This is what Santiago has shown, who has just made his “little man’s transition” at the age of 7 by completing 1,200 kilometers on foot on the paths of Santiago de Compostela.

His testimony opened the Junior Forum, where other little pilgrims were present who had walked on the paths of Mont-Saint-Michel, Tro Breiz, or on the path of the three abbeys in Brocéliande. “

I then introduced the ten children present at this Forum to meditative walking, teaching them to be present with each step taken: a “really nice” moment, according to the words of these budding pilgrims! “

→ says Marie-Edith Laval, speech therapist who teaches mindfulness to children.

© Céline Anaya Gautier

The drawing workshop, led by Fabienne Sauvageot, author and illustrator of Mirabelle wants to go to Compostela, then brought out on paper a multitude of colorful representations: the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a donkey, flowers, trees, rivers, encounters and, in all the drawings, a big bright sun!

Then it was time for these children to meet the adults in the chapel to share their drawings. A moving moment then marked the participants: the handover between a pioneer of the paths of Santiago, Jacques Vedel, who made the pilgrimage in 1958, and Santiago (and through him, all the children), by the presentation of a shell and a superb bumblebee sculpted by Jean-François Demange from the “Le Bourdon du Pèlerin” workshop.

Spiritual stop

© Gaële de La Brosse

At the end of the day, those who wished met at the Forum104 chapel, placed under the protection of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, for a time of meditation led by Father Dominique Lang.

“After reading a Gospel,” he explains, “I encouraged everyone to make a symbolic gesture with water, this element so essential for the pilgrim.”

Some made a sign of the cross with this water, others sprinkled their faces. A pilgrim also left a paper boat there, a symbol of his journey.

“I then really appreciated the “Prayer Path” operation launched by the Webcompostella association, confides Hubert, consisting of transmitting prayer intentions to religious communities established on the paths of Saint-Jacques.”

Many messages were thus collected, and this meditative stopover concluded with the blessing for the Pilgrimage of life.

After spiritual foods, earthly foods. “The buffet imagined and created by Constance Lanxade,” says Elisabeth, “amazed the guests with its colors, its flavors and the creativity of its composition.”

And the day ended in the company of Edouard Cortès, who previewed his film There was a path – 3 children, a dream and a donkey: 1300 kilometers on the roads of Rome . Should we add that the public was won over by this testimony?

Bread of life, food for the road

© Gaële de La Brosse

This Forum could not end without another essential sharing: that of the Eucharist, the bread of life. A mass therefore closed the program, hosted in collaboration with the Saint-Jacques-aux-Pèlerins brotherhood of Paris.

Then, after singing the song of backgammon, the faithful followed the guided tour of Guillaume Langla’s exhibition, “Compostelle, the celestial march”, and left each other after a last friendly drink.

At the end of these days, which brought together 350 people from the four corners of France and neighboring countries, enthusiastic testimonies are pouring in. “Thank you,” writes Christiane, “for this rejuvenating day which allowed us to relive the spirit of the Way and nourish our inner pilgrimage.”

Chantal and Michel who, leaving for the Camino francés were unable to participate in this meeting, wanted to pin a badge on their backpack, bearing the dates of the next edition: June 4-5, 2016. The 2nd Pilgrimage Routes Forum is therefore underway!

See you in 2016!The next edition will take place over an entire weekend, June 4 and 5, 2016. The round table will have the theme “Shared paths, sharing roads: at the crossroads of spiritualities and religions”. The Junior Forum will now be open to children aged 5 to 12.

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