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Denise Thiem - Five Years "In Memoriam"

2020 Camino Guides

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
Hi everyone,
April 5 marked 5 years since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the family if we marked this date by sending on condolences, and/ or even memories if you happened to walk with Denise or visited her memorial tree. I'm in touch with her brother, and after a couple of days I can point him to this thread.

If you like the idea, please post some thoughts below.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
I can get us started...

Though I never got to meet Denise, I'll always remember her smile from the photos that were circulated. We still grieve her loss and remember how the search for her brought our pilgrim community together. I'm praying for the Thiem family to have comfort and peace in the hard days, and joy in remembering Denise in the lighter moments. We will never forget her.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Faith, thank you for this beautiful post. Yes, please convey warmest wishes and heartfelt condolences to Cedric and the family, who must be still be deeply feeling her loss.

I was walking the Frances that year, and was a day ahead of Denise on the day she disappeared. We had crossed paths only once, a brief encounter about a week earlier. But close or not, she was one of us - a peregrina, a sister, a kindred spirit. We will not forget the light she carried.

Now all those shells we carried for her are resting under a tree that grows year by year. Whenever I pass there, I will pause - remembering her light, her smile, her heart.
And to offer prayers of well-wishing for you who were close to her.
May you find solace and comfort in your grief on this difficult anniversary - remembering the good times and the light, and knowing that Denise touched many lives.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1974 + others)
And Denise's family is thinking about Spain at this difficult time:


The article describes how her family has donated masks to health care workers in thanks for Spain's investigation of her disappearance.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I walked the same route in the fall that year and remembering thinking a lot about her on that day out of Astorga. I join everyone in sending my condolences to Denise's family, and thank them for the thoughtful donation to the health care workers in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I also was never to meet Denise. I was around 6 months behind her (Sept 2015). I think I was in Leon when her body was finally found. Thinking about her mother and other family brought tears to my eyes. Passing her "resting place" a few days later renewed those feelings. I spent a few minutes at her memorial in May 2017. Deepest sympathies to her family (the pain will ease but never go away completely).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thank you @natefaith for offering us this moment of standing beside Denise’s family.
If it was a time of anxiety for many women on the camino, how much more for you all, her family. I cannot look into her beautiful face without crying for her loss, so I can only imagine that your grief will hardly be softened yet. It is my prayer that you will be even a little consoled by the knowledge that your Denise will not be forgotten. I am in awe of your generosity in the gift to the people of Spain in these times of fear and illness.
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
On 26 April 2015 I stopped at La Faba to have lunch. Some officers from Civil Protection came by, asking about the missing pilgrim. They were volunteers and had given up their Sunday to do this.
 

DebR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances:
2013; 2014; 2015; 2017; 2018; and counting down to Christmas 2019
I also was never to meet Denise. I was around 6 months behind her (Sept 2015). I think I was in Leon when her body was finally found. Thinking about her mother and other family brought tears to my eyes. Passing her "resting place" a few days later renewed those feelings. I spent a few minutes at her memorial in May 2017. Deepest sympathies to her family (the pain will ease but never go away completely).
I remember vividly the day when she was found: I was in the bar across the road from the municipal in Estella and saw the story live on the Spanish news. I carried a shell for her all the way on that walk and I think of her every time I walk out of Astorga, one of my favourite stretches of the way.
She will walk on with so many of us.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
My thoughts and prayers for Denise and her family. I started my pilgrimage on the Camino Frances about 6 weeks after her disappearance, and I, like many peregrinas, had her on my mind hoping for a positiive outcome. Denise became a part of my camino and still is.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Hi everyone,
April 5 marked 5 years since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the family if we marked this date by sending on condolences, and/ or even memories if you happened to walk with Denise or visited her memorial tree. I'm in touch with her brother, and after a couple of days I can point him to this thread.

If you like the idea, please post some thoughts below.
I recall walking through Astorga not long after she went missing and seeing the posters when we all still hoped for a miracle. I have stopped at her tree and hung a shell and said a prayer and I encourage anyone I know of going on the camino to do the same. She will never be forgotten
 

Pia Valbak Schmidt

Pilgrim, DK, Caminos 2007,09,11,12,13,14.15,16,18
Camino(s) past & future
2007,2009,2011,2012,2013,2014.2015,2016,2018. Hospitalera 2012,2013,2014,2016,2017
Hi everyone,
April 5 marked 5 years since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the family if we marked this date by sending on condolences, and/ or even memories if you happened to walk with Denise or visited her memorial tree. I'm in touch with her brother, and after a couple of days I can point him to this thread.

If you like the idea, please post some thoughts below.
I never knew Denise, but I have been thinking a lot of her. I carried a shell for her in 2016 to Santiago.
May she rest in peace 🍀 🍀🍀
 

ELHS220

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2015, 2017
Norte (Oviedo Costa) - 2018
Finisterre/Muxía - 2018
Norte - (2019)
My thoughts and prayers for Denise and her family. I started my pilgrimage on the Camino Frances about 6 weeks after her disappearance, and I, like many peregrinas, had her on my mind hoping for a positiive outcome. Denise became a part of my camino and still is.
I also started right around that time (May 17) from SJPP. Articles in the newspapers regarding her disappearance were frequent and, after Astorga, so were the missing posters. This one was on the door of Albergue Pilar in Rabanal where I stayed. In 2017, I spent the night in El Ganso. Unfortunately I totally missed the memorial tree. I was hoping to
see it this year in June but, because of the current situation, that will be delayed until next year.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
So we can all pause on our way to Santiago to remember Denise and other pilgrims I entered the Pilgrims Memorial Grove to Google Maps on behalf of @Rebekah Scott's Peaceable Projects charity. It may be awhile before we can visit to see the tree memorializing Denise but in the meantime we can visit virtually to see pictures.

Pilgrim Memorial Grove
Calle Del Ecce Homo-Vv, 0, 24718 Valdeviejas, León, Spain

The URL for the above is https://maps.app.goo.gl/y5aUyScYdavKJqcJ6
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
She was still missing when I started my Camino in August 2015, and was somewhere around Sarria I believe when I read she had been found. So very sad.
 

DMSyracuse

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March/April 2015 - SJPdP to Santiago
Cam. Finisterre/Muxia August 2016
Cam. Fatima - Oct 2017
Although I never met or knew Denise I was on the Camino during the same period of time March 23-April 23, 2015. I remember the day I arrived in the pilgrim office in Santiago de Compostela they showed me a picture of Denise and asked if I had seen her, that was the first I heard of Denise and her story. I then started following her story when I arrived back home. So although I never knew or met her just knowing I was on the same path in life at the same time as her and the joy I felt, knowing the joy i'm sure she was feeling will always maker her story and her unforgettable to this fellow pilgrim. Blessings and Buen camino Denise
 

david malta

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon Santiago March 2015
Pamplona Santiago March 2016
ars since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the famil
I still remember Denise's brother asking for help in this forum as he had not heard from his sister for some days. That was a couple of days after I returned home upon the completion of my first camino. The help and support he got from forum members was extraordinary. Rest in Peace Denise. You will not be forgotten.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
I too was walking that year carrying a shell for Denise. My thoughts are with her family today. Thank you for this gesture of rememberance NateFaith - I've not forgotten you either for your gesture of thoughtfulness - and
what you did for me at Pilgrim House that 'special' year.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Rest in Peace Denise. We think of you often.

The shell I carried in 2015 and left at the Pilgrim House.
384.jpg

Her Memorial Tree in February 2019
101.jpg

Always remembered, never forgotten.
 

Gingerseed

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances July-Aug 2011
Camino Portugues Oct 2012
Camino Frances starting in Pamplona 2017
Hi everyone,
April 5 marked 5 years since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the family if we marked this date by sending on condolences, and/ or even memories if you happened to walk with Denise or visited her memorial tree. I'm in touch with her brother, and after a couple of days I can point him to this thread.

If you like the idea, please post some thoughts below.
In 2017 I walked my third Camino. After walking through the Maseta I came across two Albuerges that were side by side. One did not have available beds so I went next door. There I was told there were beds and asked to fill out a form that basically asked where I had begun and where I planned to go. I had never filled this out before. I looked up at the Hospitalero and said do we fill this out now because of Denise? He stared at me and said you knew Denise? I said no I did not but I read articles about her and have been thinking about her.
He looked at me with so much depth and sincerity in his eyes and said everyday I sign people in here. I take their credentials and stamp them over and over again without looking up and today you made me stop when you mentioned my friends name. You know that makes me very happy that she has not been forgotten. I began to sob and he came out to hug me and said that I must not cry. For this we must have a drink together and cheers in her honour.
We met later in the evening and did just that. He spoke of how he had walked a portion of the camino with her and had breakfast with her the day she disappeared and how he went on to help assist by answering questions during the investigation into the timeline of her disappearance. We both marvelled at this magic that many of us know happens so frequently on the Camino. Things that are inexplicable but some how happen so seamlessly and make us feel that there is a divine power at work. Denise will never be forgotten and although I never met her I feel part of her Camino family. God bless her friends and family and thank you for gifting masks in her memory. She is continuously alive in our hearts.

Hi everyone,
April 5 marked 5 years since Denise passed away. I know many of you still think of her often, and I think it might be nice for the family if we marked this date by sending on condolences, and/ or even memories if you happened to walk with Denise or visited her memorial tree. I'm in touch with her brother, and after a couple of days I can point him to this thread.

If you like the idea, please post some thoughts below.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Denise was just missing when I started walking from SJPdP in 2015.
During those 35 days to Santiago it was on the news every day, it was / is so sad.😞😥
Apri 2018 I was working as a volunteer in the Huiskamer at the first floor above the Pilgrimsoffice when Faith asked me if I want to bring the shells left by Pilgrims in Pilgrim house to the memory tree for Denise.
There was only one answer, Yes.
20180503_124537.jpg
That last weekend the shells stayed in the Pilgrimsoffice in the room that is used by sister Katherine and the other sisters.
On Monday the shells went on there final journey to Denise.
I can say it was a hard drive up there full of emotions.
A lot of Tears where flowing that day.
20180507_114629.jpg
20180507_114647.jpg
Wil never forget this , bringing the shells to Denise. 🙏😞😥
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
In memory of Denise, not long after her body was found, a friend and I walked from Astorga to Castrillo de los Polvazares, and stayed there the night. As most of you know, it is slightly off the main camino path. The albergue was not open and the owner of our accommodation went home to Astorga and left us alone. I think we were the only people staying overnight in the village, except for one very elderly woman. The night sky was clear and full of stars. We sat on the verandah and it was completely silent, eery and beautiful. We thought of Denise. Heaven seemed very close.
We are currently in a time of trial but Denise's family's generosity of spirit is proof again that love and goodness will always flow through the world.
 

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