camino

Camino Pilgrimage

Travel Opportunity for St. Francis College Alumni and Friends

Sacred Movement Through Sacred Space
Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
July 1 – July 21, 2017
¡Buen Camino!

This summer, St. Francis College is offering a select group of alumni and friends the opportunity to participate in a study pilgrimage in northwestern Spain along the historic and modern Camino de Santiago from León to Santiago de Compostela.

On July 1st, 2017, our St. Francis College group will meet in León, Spain and begin the pilgrimage. Led by Alexandria M. Egler, Ph.D. a professor of Religious Studies and pilgrimage scholar, SFC pilgrims will walk two and a half weeks (July 1st to July 21st), covering ten to fifteen miles a day with time set aside daily for historical and cultural visits, spiritual reflections, prayer, Mass, shared meals, conversation and camaraderie.

santiago

Our pilgrimage experience will:

  • Invite participants into a deeper understanding of faith, rituals, liturgy, ceremony, sacred sites and art as we trace the journey and experience the environment of pilgrims.
  • Consider how faith develops both through self and through community.
  • Develop fuller awareness, understanding and experience of the tradition of pilgrimage in the Catholic tradition, with specific understanding of the Franciscan tradition.
  • Identify potential for incorporating pilgrimage into personal and communal spiritual practice.
  • Reflect on pilgrimage using various academic lenses – theology, philosophy, history, literature and art.
  • Appreciate pilgrimage as a metaphor for the spiritual life, growing in knowledge of how the pilgrimage can shape the faith journey of individuals.
  • Understand art as an expression of community and individual expression, creativity and yearning to connect with the Divine as integral to pilgrimage.
  • Increase awareness of the natural world and the human connection to, responsibility for and reliance upon it.

Introduce participants to history, architecture, land use, cultural and sociological developments as well as religious traditions.

Delight in and experience the customs, cuisine and culture of northwestern Spain.

Participants should be in good health and able to walk at least 10-15 miles a day carrying a 15-pound backpack. For those who are unable to carry a pack, there is availability to send pack to the daily destination for an added fee.

Download the Syllabus

What's Included

  • All Albergue/Hotel Accommodations
  • Most Dinners (Five dinners will be at the expense of the pilgrim)
  • All Church and museum entrance fees and tips
  • Pilgrim Passport, Compostela and Certificate of Kilometers walked
  • Two excursions by motor coach
  • A final festive dinner in Santiago de Compostela

Participants are responsible for their airfare and travel arrangements to and from Spain as well as for the cost of their accommodations and any other expenses before and after the pilgrimage. They are also responsible for breakfast and lunch on their own, or any snacks and beverages they might wish to purchase beyond the food and beverages covered by the course fees, as well as personal spending money.

Participants will pay a course fee of $2500.00, which will cover all accommodations, most dinners, entrance fees to churches, cultural institutions and museums as well as day excursions.

Pilgrimage is a religious journey that is an art practiced, at its most fundamental level by all religious traditions. Within the camino valley practice of pilgrimage, movement brings pilgrims to sacred places of faith. Pilgrimage is a journey that intersects with, and informs seekers of a deeper understanding of where they are and who they are as well as where they are going and who they are to become as pilgrims in the journeys of their lives. In the Christian tradition the act of pilgrimage is deeply connected to the physical particularity of the terrain up which we walk and inseparable from the truth of our physical being.

El Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes across Spain to Santiago de Compostela, the legendary burial site of St. James the Apostle. It has existed as a Christian pilgrimage route for over 1000 years. During the medieval period it was one of three great pilgrimages undertaken, the other two destinations being Rome and Jerusalem. A pilgrim journeying to any of these three destinations would receive a plenary indulgence, freeing the pilgrim from penance due to sin. The Camino has enjoyed a remarkable revival in recent years as a pilgrimage route, attracting and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims annually. Our “friary” will be the Camino and our walk to Santiago will examine and live all that it means to be a pilgrim, engaging body, mind, and spirit as individuals and as part of the great community of pilgrims.

While on the Camino, we will walk the route, rain or shine, and meet for reflection, lectures and discussion of the churches and sanctuaries, monuments and landmarks along the route. Most days will end in a communal dinner, enjoying the varied Spanish cuisine, local delicacies, and wines of the regions through which we are travelling. Mass will be celebrated along the way and pilgrims will be invited to reflect on various aspects of spiritual and personal development while experiencing the physicality of the journey. Our daily walks will challenge participants to consider the relationship of the heart, mind and body to creation and others, including non-human animals. Questions to be considered are: What is the connection between the Divine and creation as one walks? How do we shape and nurture ourselves as pilgrims? How is pilgrimage both an inwardly and outwardly transformative journey? Additional attention will be given to the connection between education and experience, the historical setting and contemporary meaning. Much of the experience will be about spiritual reflection while walking, as well as an emphasis on self-reliance, awareness and intention.

Each pilgrim is responsible for finding his/her own way from place to place each day along the Camino and meeting the daily expectations. All members of the pilgrimage are asked to participate in our group activities and conversations. We will discuss expectations during our orientation meetings. With sensitivity, care, attention, and solid preparation, everyone will have the opportunity to experience a deeply rich and spiritually transformative pilgrimage.

St. Francis College will book land accommodations in advance. Our group will be staying in private albergues (hostels) and inexpensive hotels along the way. The albergues are usually dormitory-style with men and women in the same room; the hotels rooms may be double or single occupancy.

The route is well marked and our daily destinations will have most amenities. At no time does the Camino stray far from villages or major roads, so gear should be bare bones. Pilgrims will be able to purchase necessities throughout the journey. Most albergues have facilities for washing and drying clothes (not necessarily washing machines) so everyone will be able to do laundry every day…part of the pilgrim experience! Every pilgrim will be carrying everything he/she brings, so the lighter the better! For those who may not be able/do not desire to carry a backpack, your pack can be sent ahead each day for an additional fee. We will be walking at least five to seven hours each day. Participants will need to be prepared and fit. Everyone should have good walking shoes or hiking boots (well used and broken in), and another pair of sandals or flip-flops to change into once we reach our daily destination. A light sleeping bag or sleeping sheet (albergues do not always have sheets or blankets), a light backpack, at least one change of clothes (lightweight and quick drying), a rain jacket/poncho, a water bottle, hat, sunscreen, etc. should round out the gear. Your whole kit should not weigh more than fifteen to eighteen pounds or 10% of the pilgrim’s body weight. We will review, discuss, pack, discard, repack, discard further and pack again in preparation.

ATMs, grocery stores, and pharmacies are available in most villages. Bars along the route supply reasonably priced breakfasts, snacks and lunches. For the evening meal, many albergues have kitchens for preparing food, and almost every village has very reasonable restaurants with a “Peregrino” or Pilgrim's Menu, usually consisting of three courses, bread and a beverage for anywhere from €10-15 Euros ($11-16 U.S. Dollars). With the exception of approximately five dinners that each pilgrim will be responsible for at his/her own expense, we will be eating/preparing dinner as a group and these costs will be included in the course fee.

In case of blisters, severe fatigue, heat exhaustion or other serious emergencies, all points on the route are close to taxis or intercity buses. Clinics are accessible, well-staffed, and very accommodating to pilgrims. There is cellphone coverage almost everywhere. If a pilgrim is so inclined, he/she may wish to purchase a Spanish cellphone upon arrival to use while in Spain, or purchase an international phone plan on an existing cellphone. Dr. Egler will have a cellphone that works in Spain. During our general information session on April 3 we will spend time discussing what to pack, how to prepare and offer some suggested readings. After meeting the group, Dr. Egler will work to tailor the pilgrimage towards the needs and desires that will be discussed.

Payment Schedule

  • Deposit of $500 per person is due as soon as possible, as space is limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
    • Make your check payable to “St. Francis College.”
  • The second payment of $500.00 is due by April 15, 2017.
  • The participant understands that the balance of $1500.00 is due by May 1, 2017.
  • Refunds
    • After April 15, 2017 the full deposit is not refundable.
    • Refunds, minus the deposit, a $50.00 service fee and the cost of insurance, will be returned to participants if cancellation is given by May 15, 2017.
    • Between May 16 – June 6, 2017, 50% of the total cost is forfeited.
    • Between June 7 and June 30, 2017 75% of the total cost is forfeited.
    • Within 30 days of departure there will be no refund.

Itinerary

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Date

Destination

Miles/Kilometers

Albergue/Hotel

Principle Sites/Activities

June 30, 2017

León, Spain

July 1, 2017

León

TBD

July 2, 2017

León

July 3, 2017

Hospital de Órbigo

Albergue Verde

July 4, 2017

Astorga

July 5, 2017

Rabanal

Albergue Nuestra Señora del Pilar

July 6, 2017

Molinaseca

Albergue Santa Marina

July 7, 2017

Ponferrada

July 8, 2017

Villafranca del Bierzo

Albergue de la Piedra

July 9, 2017

La Laguna de Castilla

Albergue la Escuela

July 10, 2017

Triacastela

Albergue Complexo Xacobeo Triacastela

July 11, 2017

Samos

Albergue del Monasterio de Samos

July 12, 2017

Sarria

Los Blasones

July 13, 2017

Portomarín

Albergue Ferramentiero

July 14, 2017

Palas de Rei

Albergue Privado Buen Camino

July 15, 2017

Melide

Albergue O Cruceiro

July 16, 2017

Arzúa

TBD

July 17, 2017

O’Pedrouzo

TBD

July 18, 2017

Santiago de Compostela

TBD

July 19, 2017

Santiago de Compostela

July 20, 2017

Santiago de Compostela

July 21, 2017

Depart for Home

About Your Guide

alexandria egler

Alexandria M. Egler, Ph.D. is a professor of Religious Studies at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. Her areas of scholarly interest and research are in Pilgrimage and Franciscan Studies, having written and published on both. The two topics often intersect when she journeys with students and adults to Assisi, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. She has led pilgrimages to Rome and Assisi over ten times with both student and adult pilgrims interested in exploring the lives and spirituality of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. Dr. Egler has made pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago four times, twice alone, and twice with students, beginning her journeys in France, Spain and Portugal. With each pilgrimage she has come to learn the terrain, climate and Camino itself very well along with having cultivated a deep respect and love for the religious traditions, spirituality, history, architecture, landscape, culture, food, wine and people of northern Spain as well as France and Portugal. The spirituality of the Camino is infused within every village and vista of the route, reminding us of our ancestor pilgrims who have walked before us and those pilgrims who will follow us in the journey. It would be an honor for Dr. Egler to walk with you this summer as St. Francis College launches its inaugural pilgrimage to meet Santiago and St. Francis in España.¡Buen Camino!

For more information

Alexandria M. Egler, Ph.D.
St. Francis College
180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
aegler@sfc.edu
or The Development Office
St. Francis College
180 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718.489.5361

There will be an information session on April 3, 2017 at 6:00 pm in the President's Office of the College.

For those who will be participating in the pilgrimage, Dr. Egler will offer at least three preparation sessions prior to departure for Spain. Below are the dates of these meetings:

Date

Time

Location

April 3, 2017

Information Session

6:00 pm

President’s Office

April 10, 2017

Preparation Session

6:00 pm

President’s Office

May 8, 2017

Preparation Session

6:00 pm

President’s Office

June 12, 2017

Preparation Session

6:00 pm

President’s Office

June 26, 2017

Final Session

6:00 pm

President’s Office