L’Arche Ontario joins the Western Region Pilgrimage – September 2011

Colette Halferty and Kim Lageer (two on the far right)

Colette Halferty and Kim Lageer from L’Arche Daybreak represented the L’Arche communities of the Ontario Region on September 16 and 17, 2011 as part of the Western Region Pilgrimage. L’Arche communities in the Western Region are: Saskatoon, Winnepeg, Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, Greater Vancouver, and Comox Valley.

Kim and I had such an adventure in travelling to the Western Regional Pilgrimage. This was Kim’s first time on a plane and as we entered the airport she said, “Hello World” because this was a big step for her. Arriving in Vancouver we met up with my old friends from L’Arche Greater Vancouver and spent the first day in the community – prayer at Shiloah, dinner at Nazirah House and lots of visits with people. Day Two saw us tour Vancouver with friends, and so Kim and I walked around Stanley Park enjoying the mountains and ocean under grey skies. Kim and I walked so much and really took the day to experience Vancouver with its native art and natural beauty. Kim commented that “Vancouver is one big mountain after another, it’s huge.”

Friday and Saturday were full days with the pilgrimage gathering – lots of songs, skits and laughter. Hazel Bradley shared stories that helped us to reflect on the individual paths we all take in L’Arche which weave together to make a scared story. The theme was pilgrims together, each of us on a journey where we are met, welcomed and celebrated in L’Arche for who we are and in the place we are at. Kim enthusiastically joined in with the songs and the skits as she felt comfortable with her new friends. Kim especially enjoyed the singing – she talked about how the songs were the same ones that we sing in our community. On Saturday we walked in silence on pilgrimage to a local park where we each laid our stones that were symbols of the prayers we carried in our hearts. When we returned from this pilgrimage walk, we encountered each other through the washing of the feet – a time for us to humbly give and receive of one another in service.

Long days and short sleeps resulted in both Kim and I being exhausted at the end of the trip. However, our journey home was filled with gratitude and joy as we shared about all the happenings and people we met on this journey across Canada. This was truly a gift for both of us.

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