Head to The Julia Greeley Guild to learn more about Denver’s Angel of Charity and The Society of Servant Pilgrims to learn more about Pilgrim Ann’s Ministry

MONDAY, MARCH 18

The latest photos were taken as I was walking between the villages of Gower & Eaton toward St Joseph, MO. Like most photos, there’s no town, just sprawling countryside… like the earlier Perrine Cemetery photo – the town dissolved long ago; only the cemetery remains. Google doesn’t even know.

Maybe you get the sense of the expanse & open distances as I walk on these gravel farm roads. No one, really, except the local farmers, uses them or even knows they exist. Great pilgrim paths, they are.

SUNDAY, MARCH 17

Mass last night after St Pat’s parade. Grumpy priest but friendly parishioners, a lovely couple offered their guest room to me & wonderful evening together.

Early this morning, I was interviewed for a local paper – Cameron Citizen-Observer; article to appear next week. Reporter, also KofC 4th deg, will try to get something in the KC-St Joe diocesan paper, too.
This ‘nice’ weather causes me to carry my winter clothes instead of wearing them – a heavy burden =[  but the scenery is undulating & expansive, so I attached a few photos of late winter western MO for you.
With Benedictines women tonight – gotta run to complines…”

Broadview, MO

Perrine Cemetary

SATURDAY, MARCH 16

Baptists last night – fascinated by Julia & the path from ‘heroic virtue’ to ‘Saint’ in modern times.  Back w Catholics tonight. 274 mi total from St Louis…passed through Hamilton this sunny windy day – quilt capital of America. Who knew?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13

WEEK 1 UPDATE

“It’s a strange experience carrying a phone. Remembering that I gave it has been a challenge, so many photo ops went unrecorded. I’m on a learning curve…

Holding Julia close, I walked north from St Louis on the western edge of the Mississippi River valley for four days to reach Hannibal. I passed several grand antebellum manor houses that Julia may have seen herself. Honestly, I felt an uneasiness walking by that facet of history even though my lineage was in Ireland long after the Civil War. I saw more than a few Confederate flags in display since my walk began.
Every day I have been telling people I encounter about Julia. Most of the Catholics have heard of her & connect her in context with Fr Augustine Tolton. Others listen to the story of Julia with interest but are more stunned that I’m walking to Denver rather than awed by the holy efforts of the woman inspiring me to do so.
In the first week I’ve had a bit of snow, rain, sunshine, & wind…I’m sure the mix will persist all the way to Denver. Enjoy your blizzard.”
St Louis – O’Fallon – Elsberry – Clarksville – Hannibal – Monroe City – Shelbina – Macon
Total of 164 miles by foot on mostly gravel farm roads, a few blacktop little roads & across a few fields.
I’ve gone to Mass 5 times & 1 Eucharistic Celebration.
I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of the Catholic church: 1x OP convent, 1x OSB retreat house, 2x rectories, & 3x parishioners’ homes.
In populated areas like here, I make a point of not carrying water so that I’m compelled to ask someone as I pass a farmhouse. It’s refreshing how many people (mostly Protestants maybe) who understand the Biblical significance of offering ‘even a glass of water’. Who am I to bring my own water & deny someone the opportunity to have his gesture rewarded in Heaven?”

 

MONDAY, MARCH 11
Ann visits Holy Rosary Catholic School in Monroe City, MO.

SUNDAY, MARCH 10

… the strong headwind made my 25 miles today more exhausting than they should have been, but I saw (and photo’d) a herd of buffalo, was followed by an affectionate Lab/Great Dane mix for 3 miles, and sat in on a Presbyterian Sunday School…. good day; night with a sole Dominican sister in a big convent…

Today – 25 mi / 117 cum.. reached Monroe City strong headwind; w Dominican sister tonight, will talk to school assembly tomorrow;  parochial school k-8

Small buffalo herd on prairie today.”

THURSDAY, MARCH 7
“Yesterday, Day 1, I walked 25 miles through grueling suburban sprawl to O’Fallon & stayed at the rectory of St Barnabas church. A deacon who remembered me from a speech I gave at a pilgrim conference in Belleville in 2014 was beside himself offering his assistance.

Today, 27 miles in on & off snow flurries for a cumulative of 52 miles. I’m staying in the comfortable home of an elderly parishioner in Elsberry. There’s a Catholic church but no resident priest. The priest from St Barnabas phoned a local family he knew prompting the community to discuss me at their Communion Celebration this morning. It’s great that the small community has all gotten involved. They’re expecting a larger than usual group at  tomorrow’s Celebration so they can all meet me in person. It’s a pretty big deal that a pilgrim has come anyway, but a pilgrimage to Denver for Julia Greeley is even more noteworthy according to the folks I’ve met so far. Julia’s evidently well known here.
My walk to Hannibal is beneath impressive sandstone bluffs at the western edge of the floodplains of the Mississippi. Mostly, I’ve been on the old highway that’s largely abandoned except by local farmers.  It’s parallel to a railroad line that was constructed in 1871. Did Julia travel from Hannibal by train? If she did, the view of the bluffs couldn’t have changed much & though there are only a handful of houses, several are century farms. I was struck by some large chambers carved in the bluffs and remembered that my phone, though without service, has a camera, too. See the attached photo…

Julia may also have experienced the thousands upon thousands of migrating geese like I saw & heard today. Between the whistling of the trains & the squawking of the birds & the burbling snowmelt rushing toward the river, the soundtrack surely hasn’t changed much since Julia’s days in this area.

Enough for now – the widow’s gone to bed & I’m waiting for my laundry to finish. Tomorrow, I’ve got plans to visit more Benedictines & a fish fry at the American Legion. Pilgrim life rocks!

Peace!”

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