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ROADS TO SANTIAGO - the new CSJ Spiritual Companion



Shortly before leaving London, I was given a copy of Roads to Santiago, the new Spiritual Companion published by CSJ. I started to read this on the cross-Channel ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and I have been reading it as I continue on my pilgrimage. It is ideal as a lightweight portable booklet for walking (only 36 pages) and it contains short passages which can be used for reflection on the road.

Each passage is written by a different member of the Confraternity of St James and that makes a wide variety of material, from simple reflections of events and encounters on the road, to some more consciously literary and poetic contributions. The short writings are supported by scriptural passages and other inspirational material: the Our Father; the Beatitudes; the Pauline hymn to love; Psalm 23; John Bunyan, etc; and a lovely short poem from the 18th century, which I have read several times, called "For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry." The next time I get charged by a wild boar while camping in a French forest on this pilgrimage, I will make a bold attempt to read this poem to the boar and see if it has as calming effect on the creature as the poem does on me...

The booklet is very well illustrated with high quality photographs. In fact, it is encouraging for me at present to look at the photos of sunny landscapes that await me further south, while I trudge through the Normandy hail and rain!

It is difficult to choose one passage from such an excellent collection to give just a flavour of what is here, but the piece by Ricky Yates called "The two journeys" really speaks to me at this stage of my pilgrimage. He writes with a beautiful economy of words, in prose that comes close to poetic metre in places, echoing the motion of slow footsteps. Talking of the outward and the inward journeys that we make simultaneously on pilgrimage, he says, "The outward journey leads me eventually to Santiago with its cathedral and shrine of St James. The inward journey leads to a deeper understanding of myself and into a closer relationship with God."

I have said a number of times in this Forum that I would like to see a little more focus on the Christian tradition that nourished pilgrims on the Way of St James for centuries, in order to help modern pilgrims find their way into the genuine spiritual riches they can discover. This is helpful at a time when there is a growing secular and commercial influence on the Camino de Santiago, and perhaps a little too much emphasis on "discovering yourself" - whatever that means :? . However much some of us have a zeal to share our faith, it must be admitted that people who have had little or no experience of the Christian tradition can sometimes find it alien. This booklet, produced jointly by the Redemptorists and CSJ, is 'user friendly' in every sense. It is light to carry but by no means lightweight in spiritual nourishment. I recommend it unreservedly, and I shall do my part to promote it as I go along my way in these two thousand kilometres to Santiago.


This review was written in Rouen, while staying as a guest of Jean-Noel and Lyn Toulouzan and Les Amis de Saint Jacques de Compostelle en Normandie, and also appears on my blog:


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Gareth, I was sent a copy of the little book and agree that it is a charming spiritual companion. A few members of this forum shared their photographs. One that I shared has been reduced considerably so I am going to post it here and you will see why John used it. It was taken on the Via Francigena to Rome in 2006.


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Nunca se camina solo
Last night some 60 pilgrims attended a reception in the House of Lords in the UK Parliament to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Confraternity of St James in the UK and also to launch this new Spiritual Companion. Lord Clarke welcoming guests was quick to point out the scallop shells in one of the stained glass windows in the room over looking the river Thames!

Members old and new really welcomed this new publication as it has been a long held ambition of the Confraternity to have a Spiritual Companion for pilgrims.

Apparently sales of the new booklet are already brisk - and it can be ordered on line from the CSJ.

If you order it let us all know what you think of it!


Bridget and Peter

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Yes, and it is very good. I thought I might give a copy to family members who know we are 'into' the camino but don't really know much about it - one's aged parents, for example, or adult children who don't like to let on that they are interested in what their AP's are doing but ....

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Rebekah had a copy at the Peaceable Kingdom in Moratinos and I read it - thoroughly enjoyed it. Lovely Camino companion!

Buen Camino,

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