Pilgrim's Progress: Our Lady of Bella Vista

Dear Henry,

Years ago, I heard about the Camino de Santiago and was immediately drawn to the idea of a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain.

I can pinpoint many of the reasons that I want to do this. I was born in Spain, I love to journey, and I love to learn. But, honestly, I just "for no particular reason" really want to do it.

Initially, I didn't think it was possible. However, after the accident, it became difficult for me to wear a backpack at any time, and for many years I had placed the Camino de Santiago in the "Things I Have Lost" closet.

Then I learned there was a porter system available, complete with bed and breakfast accommodations, and realized that the Camino was something I could feasibly do.

Of course, after pricing the porter system, I realized that the goal would take a few years to achieve.

No matter, I need to work on my Spanish anyway.

While I am planning to do the Camino de Santiago, I began thinking about all of the shrines available in the US, and I felt that while I am preparing for the Camino, I could make mini pilgrimages to the shrines around me.

My first one was planned for the day after Easter. I was going to travel to Prague, Oklahoma, and visit the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague, the icon of the Infant of Prague is a personal favorite of mine, and Prague, Oklahoma is but a half day's drive away.

Of course, Covid-19 has altered all of my pilgrimage plans.

The other day, I complained to Father B, my pastor, about how awry my plans are (sadly, yes, I fussed about a road trip right now). Father waved out of his office door toward Our Lady of Bella Vista and the (charming) outdoor Stations of the Cross and suggested I begin my pilgrimage here.

I thought that perseverance would be the first lesson I would have to learn from my pilgrimages. But, instead, it appears my study will be on patience.

xoxo a.d.