Taken from the West Australian, Bethany Hiatt Educational Editor 6th June 2015
“As well as a few blisters, a group of hardy Year 12 students walking from Perth to New Norcia hope to gain a sense of spiritual achievements and an insight into Perth’s early history.
The 15 Mercedes College students doing the 145km trek are followig closely as possible in the steps of Spanish monk Dom Rosendo Salvado, who set off on foot in 1847 to establish the Benedictine order’s New Norcia mission. His life was intertwined with thato f Ursula Frayne, one of the sisters of Mercy who established Mercedes College. Both religious pioneers made the voyage to Perth on the same ship in 1846.
The school has adapted the Camino Salvado pilgrim trail from Subiaco to New Norcia, which is based on the popular 800km Camino de Santiago pilgrim walk in Spain, and renamed its version the Camino de Merced, or path of mercy.
Mercedes head of religious education Ben Bull said though students from other schools had done sections of the Salvado trail, he believed it was the first time a school group would complete the entire walk.
The students set out on Thursday from St John’s Pro Catherdral on Victoria Avenue, the earliest Catholic Church building in WA, and follow the Swan River to the Swan Valley.
They started walking again yesterday at Bells Rapids on the Avon River and expect to arrive in New Norcia on Wednesday, where they will get a warm welcome from the rest of the Year 12 cohort.
Mr Bull said the pilgrimage would give students a chance for reflection and a sense of achievement.
“It’s so hard to quantify exactly what they get out of it, but we know that for thousands of years people have embarked on pilgrimages for a variety of reason,” he said. “And we do know that i does bring some benefits to one’s spirituality.”