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.”
The Pilgrim made the news in the Hills Gazette. Here is the article content
“A NEW bush walk through the natural Julimar State Forrest near Toodyay will enable modern day pilgrims to find spiritual peace.
The Pilgrim Trail is a contemporary journey that terminates at the Monastery of the Benedictine Monks in New Norcia.
Organiser Duncan Jefferson said the journey began with the idea of taking time out to think about who we are and where we’re going in our lives.
“The journey itself can be as important as the destination,” Mr Jefferson said.
Mr Jefferson said the trail took eight days but people could start or finish anywhere along the trek without having to walk the full eight days.
“If you only have a four-day window then by all means start in Toodyay and finish in New Norcia,” he said.
The inspiration for the trail was the established route which had been set up in 1846 by Father Rosendo Salvado, a Spanish Benedictine monk who came to Perth to serve the Aboriginal people in the Swan River Settlement and then moved to New Norcia where the mission was established.
The spiritual side of the tour offers ancient Aboriginal cultural heritage information in WA as well as the exercise and meals.
Back packs are carried by car to each destination and meals are provided en route.
Those completing the walk can deepen their understanding of the European Christian influence that came to WA and links the city with the bush.
Mr Jefferson said the walk offered people the opportunity to “leave their footprints in the story of the trail.”
“The two current walks for August and September are full and there are no more places for 2015.”
He said if others were keen to complete the walks this year they could organise their own walk on the developing camping areas on the trail.
With the two Camino Salvado Pilgrimages by St Josephs in Subiaco already full, more Colleges becoming interested in walking the trail and individual walkers wanting to “do their own thing” MMXV looks like becoming a seminal year in the development of the Pilgrim Trail. We also discussed creating a Sister-link with the Camino De Santiago and have initiated discussion with the regional Government in Galicia to get the ball rolling. We are also planing to extend Membership of the Pilgrim Trail to the wider community and are working on “Member Benefits” to go with it. But the big news out of the Board Meeting is that we will officially launch the Trail at Easter 2016 with a special walking group that will include some of the original walkers from 2009. If you’re interested in being part of this Historic event, please contact us early as interest will be huge!
If you want any information about us please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Camino Salvado® – the way of Salvado – follows the Pilgrim Trail from Perth to New Norcia under our great southern sky. At night the stars blaze and all we Aussies love pointing out our Southern Cross.
The Camino Frances starts in France and ends in Spain at Santiago de Compostela. One suggested origin of the name Compostela is “Field of Stars” as early pilgrims often slept out under them.
At Christmas, may you remember that great star that heralded the birth of the Christ child.
Buon Camino and JinJin – Australian Noongar for Good Spirit – to you all.
A recent article by Sally McGlue in the Kalamunda Post has aroused interest in linking the historical town of York to the Pilgrim Trail™ which joins Subiaco to New Norcia. Since it’s inception in 2009, the Pilgrim Trail has been evolving as it tries to follow the way of Rosendo Salvado, the pioneering Spanish Benedictine monk who came out to the Swan River Colony in the 19th century.
Over the past 5 years event walks from St Josephs Church in Subiaco have seen groups of Pilgrims undertaking the Camino Salvado to the monastery town of New Norcia. With increased usage of the Trail by more diverse groups of walkers, contemporary pilgrims and school groups too, it is exciting that York has shown interest in linking to the Pilgrim trail.
We look forward to seeing how this expansion of the Pilgrim trail will play out.
2015 looks like being a very exciting year for the Pilgrim Trail™ and the Camino Salvado
At the end of November I gave a presentation to the 9th International Colloquium Compostella in Santiago, Spain which was on the Camino de Santiago and it’s heritage. Speakers came from all around Europe and my talk on The Pilgrim Trail and the way of Salvado – our own Camino Salvado – was greeted with great interest. It was a very special occasion to be able to talk with experts on Pilgrimage from all around Europe and one even from Japan, and to be able to tell them what we have done here in Western Australia and the stories that surround the Trail.
One of the outcomes is that I was encouraged to begin talks with our State Government, and the State Government of Galicia with a view to establishing a Cultural link between the two States based on our rich Heritages and especially the common figure of Fra Rosendo Salvado who came from Spain to Australia in the 19th century.
The enthusiasm for our Trail was palpable. According to teh Co-ordinator of the event “Australia was the tenth power in number of pilgrims on 2013. According to the official statistics, there were 3,098 Australian pilgrims in the Camino de Santiago, and this number will be higher this year”. That means that there are over 3,000 Australians who might also want to experience our very own Camino here in their own country. So please – spread the word and tell everyone you know that in 2015 The Pilgrim trail is there for them.
I wish you all a joyous Christmas and every Blessing for 2015.
For those of you who want to organise your own Camino Salvado® then go to our webpage where you will find some good advice as to how to go about exploring the Pilgrim Trail™ 2015 will soon be here and if you want to book accommodation then you’ll need to do it very soon.
Those amazing Pilgrims who just finished the 2014 Camino Salvado had the added reward of being presented with the Certificates above by the Benedictine Community. It had a genuine wax seal on it too! In Spain these certificates are known as Compostela, perhaps we should call them ‘djin djin” which means “good spirit” in the Noongar language.
For those who receive them, they will be a life long reminder about what a wonderful journey they experienced. Our sincere thanks go to the New Norcia Community for such generosity of spirit.
The spirit of pilgrimage, the spirit of disparate peoples coming together from all around the Australia – and one day from all around the planet – is a great sign to the rest of the world.
The good news is that the Trail has survived the recent heavy rain and is in great condition. The flowers and wildlife are out in abundance. Two Emu took off like rockets just in front of us and several small ‘Roos hopped across out path too, which was both thrilling and kept us on the alert for more! However, one of the tracks we checked out – Heine Rd – was badly fissured by the rains and I would think it is too dangerous for recreational walkers. But the Pilgrim Trail route is in “great nick”!
Further out in the country, the fields are awash with vast splashes of yellow Canola with it’s distinctive scent, and great swathes of fresh green from the young wheat. It looks stunning!
We then went on to Bolgart which on first impressions looked a tad forlorn – even the Pub was shut! But then we met Lester Snooke and his good lady and they were a delight to meet and very interested in the trail and informative about some of Bolgarts historical figures like Captain Scully. Lester’s Dad also walked the Camino Salvado last year, so the link was already established. I am very excited about the important part Bolgart will play in futre years as the numbers of walkers increases and the need for local hospitality is met by the good people of that little town.
Then it was back up Bolgart West Road and Old Plains Road to finsih some trail marking then finally we headed for home, a nice hot shower and a hot cuppa!
PS The rains have also brought out the Mozzies so do remember your insect repellent. Mozzies bite and Mozzies buzz, but they are also a vector for some very unpleasant diseases. So repel them before they upset you.