My Pilgrimage to St. Elen’s Well, Part 1

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​[Note: As I began to write this, I thought it would be an emotional look back at an important pilgrimage that I undertook last summer. However, as I began to write, it seemed that before I got to the actual pilgrimage and the feelings that it conjured, I had to wade through the logistics of discovering the well, and finding that it was important for me to visit it. The coincidences that have crossed my life’s path and Wales astound me every time I discover them.]

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Sundays in Lent – 4th Friday

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A pilgrimage is one of those things that is encouraged throughout most religions. Each Friday I’ve been trying to offer you a virtual tour of places to take time to visit and meditate and pray on.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Armagh

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Dublin

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – New York City

Down Cathedral and St. Patrick’s gravesite (more of an exterior tour) – Downpatrick

Sundays in Lent – 3rd Friday

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Pilgrimage

Whitefriar Street Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Dublin, Ireland was one of those places on the map that i expected to see from the outside, take a few pictures of, and move on down the street. We were on a very limited time clock, one of the only ones on this trip. The map wasn’t even a real map; it was a tourist map – not every street and not to scale. The boys were going to search out the comic stores of Dublin, and my daughter and I were going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Dublin item n my bucket list.

I had done no research and so while I rushed to the Cathedral, I had no idea that we couldn’t get in without a ticket and we didn’t have the time to wait in line for one, having arranged to meet back at Starbucks and then drive north and back to Belfast.

In hindsight I would have skipped the Dublin cathedral and spent some actual time in Downpatrick in the north. I had dismissed it, clinging to my childhood stereotype that St. Patrick was of the south. I seem to always make the mistake of lack of research despite mounds of research.

Before heading to St. Patrick’s, we, my daughter and I, stood on the corner adjacent to the Starbucks which was adjacent to our hostel to get our bearings and plan our foray through the streets of Dublin. It was then that we heard the bong of a church bell.

We quickly realized that on the corner directly across the little alley where the hostel was, was a church, and upon further investigation discovered that it was the very church I had wanted to see.

Right place, right time were both on my side as we entered to gape at the first of sixteen shrines, a life size depiction of Calvary. It was beautiful and sad, thrilling and literally breathtaking and haunting and everything all at once. We stepped around and into the small alcove that was St. Albert’s Shrine and holy well dedicated to him, and as I contemplated taking a cupful of water from the shrine in my hand I was made aware that mass was about to begin.

Mass. In Dublin. Among sixteen shrines. I couldn’t pass this opportunity by.

For today’s pilgrimage I’m going to show you what I saw. They have a beautiful church with a guide to each of the shrines as well as a 360° virtual tour.

I found the mass fulfilling, the shrines inspiring, lighting the candle prayerful. I love that technology allows me to share this with you.

Sundays in Lent – 2nd Friday

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With his feast day happening yesterday, this second week of Lent brings us to pilgrimage at St. David’s Cathedral in Wales. It is a part of the Church of Wales and its new bishop is the first woman: Canon Joanna Penberthy is the 129th bishop of St. David’s.

Pilgrims have been coming to St. David’s since the 6th century.

Here a few links to ge you started. I really enjoyed the video that I’ve posted lastly.

Virtual Tour of St. David’s Cathedral

What you’ll find at Ty’r Pererin [the Pilgrim’s House] –

Sundays in Lent – 1st Friday

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Use this oppotunity to go on pilgrimage. I know that we all can’t just hop on a jet and see the world or pray around the world, but we can visit some places that inspire us to be more prayerful and draw us closer to G-d. 

Lourdes is one of those places.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VGZxmB38Sjs

Spiritual Sites

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What I call my “relics”. These are not historical or sacred in any way except to me. 1. (Top left): Dried flowers and rock along with holy water from St. Elen’s Well in Wales. 2. (Bottom left): The top and bottom of a rock from what is still standing of my mother-in-law’s uncle’s house in Northern Ireland. 3. (Top right): A shell and a rock (or a fossilized rock) from Ballintoy. 4. Middle right): Holy water and pebble from St. Olcan’s Holy Well and a rock from the Cranfield Church ruins as well as the top and bottom of the rocks from the site. 5. (Bottom right): The dried flowers and rock from St. Elen’s Well without the holy water pictured. (c)2017

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