ENC is going to Spain!

May 9, 2022

ENC is going to Spain! On May 11, Dr. Julene Tegerstrand, four ENC Intercultural Studies students, and four ENC alumni will be traveling to Spain to walk the 500-mile Christian Pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James). The Camino de Santiago, more specifically the Camino Frances, is an ancient Christian pilgrimage route that often begins at St. Jean de Pied Port, France, and ends at the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela in the city of the same, Spain. Most recently, Hollywood depicted this sacred journey in the movie with Martin Sheen called The Way. This is ENC’s first international trip since the start of the pandemic!

A Christian Pilgrimage is what Barnes (2012) calls a “Kingdom Journey”. It invites us to be receptive to God’s leadership, to participate with the ways God is showing up in the world, and to make ever increasing room for God’s spirit in our hearts. Barnes names three stages to a Kingdom Journey which the ENC pilgrims are sure to experience to varying degrees:

  1. Abandon your comfort zone
  2. Embrace your brokenness and your belovedness
  3. Depend on God

The Camino Frances is a 500-mile walk that will provide a geographical and culturally diverse context for the ENC pilgrims to pay attention to and practice receptivity to God’s grace in their lives. The ENC pilgrims will be formed by the simplicity of life, encounters with co-journeyers from around the world, physical and emotional demands of walking 6 hours a day, engagement with Spanish people and culture, listening to God through spiritual direction, and a deepening of their inner lives through reflective dialogue.

Of the 9 ENC pilgrims, half of the group participated in a spring Intercultural Studies course called Intercultural Pilgrimage. The course had students learning about Christian Pilgrimage, researching the Camino de Santiago’s Camino Frances route, and planning logistics for the walk. While the preparation was ongoing, the certainty of traveling to Spain and walking the Camino Frances ebbed and flowed with Covid-19 infection rates. The students and faculty leaned into the spirit of pilgrimage as they held the hope of travel without the certainty of it. As it became clear that the pilgrimage was on, alumni who heard of the trip decided to walk alongside the ENC students.

The ENC group will fly to Barcelona on May 11 and begin walking on May 14 from St. Jean de Pied Port, France. Six of the ten participants will walk until May 31 (ending around Burgos, Spain). The remaining three will reach Santiago de Compostela, Spain, around June 17.

The Intercultural Pilgrimage student participants will be sharing their journey on the Intercultural Studies Instagram and Facebook pages.

(Photo left to right: Dr Julene Tegerstrand, Briana Taylor, Paulin Sano,Amaris Hernandez-Diaz.)

Barnes, S. (2012). Kingdom Journeys: Rediscovering The Lost Spiritual Discipline. Ashland Press.