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Betsy McGregor to recount her journey on El Camino de Santiago

by Ben Clarke

St. Paul’s Church is offering area residents an opportunity to travel to the end of the world.

On Sunday, March 23 from 11-1 p.m., St. Paul’s Church is inviting guests to view a slide show of the 750 kilometre Camino Walk from the mountains of France, across Northern Spain to the “end of the world” – from where explorer Christopher Columbus set sail.

Lakefield-area resident Betsy McGregor will be hosting a family-friendly slide show detailing her experience travelling St. James’s Way (commonly known by its name in Spanish: El Camino de Santiago).

El Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes (most commonly the Camino Francés or French route) to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, a town in northwestern Spain where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.

The Women’s League and the Knights of Columbus are sponsoring the event, which will raise funds to offset heating costs for the Church.

“It’s meant to be a family event for the whole family,” said McGregor.

“St. James has now been walked for close to a thousand years. There’s something alluring and mystical about putting your feet in the footsteps of a Saint but also thousands and thousands of pilgrims.”

There will be a children’s table too with backpacks, a Camino “snakes and ladders” game, and a book on the life of St. James.

Vicky Martins, who accompanied McGregor on the trip will also be in attendance, as the two will detail their mystical experience where they undertook 350 kilometres of the total 750 kilometre walk.

Along the way the pair stayed at monasteries, bed and breakfasts and mountain cabins all designated for ‘Pilgrims travelling the Path’. McGregor says the walk is something anyone can commit to, as the pair were only required to spend about $20 a day for food and lodging and the only equipment needed was a pair of hiking boots and a backpack.

“You can plan for it financially but it’s more about mentally breaking out of the habit of the city or town you live in and the work you do,” said McGregor.

“The reasons to go are vast and many but the adventure is one of reflection and self-discovery.”

Anyone interested in attending the event is welcome. Pizza, hot dogs, cookies and other refreshments will be served. Tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family.

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