It starts in Canterbury. Gail and I will leave its cathedral, head south, cross the English Channel, traverse France, climb Switzerland’s Great Saint Bernard Pass, continue south through Italy and finally arrive on the doorstep of the Vatican.
This is the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Via Francigena, a path roughly following Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who made this journey in the 990. As archbishops go, he was a minor one. But he had the foresight to document his journey in a text now housed in the British Library, thus guaranteeing some level of fame for future pilgrims making their own way from Canterbury to Rome.
Unlike Sigeric, our journey starts in Winnipeg, on the doorstep of our Wolseley home. Today, we set off on our own twenty-first century pilgrimage, making our way on foot from home to airport. It is a modest 50 minute walk, following Omand’s Creek trails, roadways through forests of signs, cathedrals of commerce and industry.
It is a humble beginning, befitting of a pilgrimage adventures to come.