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The Michigan Daily - Students makes Spiritual Journey...


Staff member
Original story can be found here: ... d7c4153b73

By Katerina Georgiev, For the Daily

November 18, 2005

Legend has it that when St. James, one of Jesus’s apostles, was beheaded in 42 AD, his disciples stole his corpse and put it on board a ship with a crew of angels. After seven days the ship landed in Galicia, but the disciples were unable to bury their leader because the king and queen of the region were not Christians.

After some time, the queen of the area — which later became the city of Santiago in Spain — converted to Christianity, and James was finally buried.

In the 9th century, a hermit found St. James’s tomb, and the journey to Santiago became an important pilgrimage site for medieval Christians. Even today, it is estimated that nearly half of the people who make the pilgrimage to St. James’s tomb do so for religious reasons.

Others, like the 14 University students in the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates program, make the trip down the historic “Camino Frances,” a popular route to the tomb, for class credit.

Students participating in the program receive two credits and an opportunity to travel through Europe.

During the course of the trip, the group walked 185 miles, from León, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Andy Noverr, director of the program and a participant in the trip, said the diverse array of people the group met was one of the best parts of the trip. Far from only interacting with Spaniards, they met people from Germany, Austria and England, and even a Shaman alternative medicine man from Chile determined to walk the way barefoot. Noverr said with all the different nationalities represented, walking the Camino is not only seeing Spain, but experiencing “an entity unto itself.”

Each person had a different reaction at completing the trip, and each person took something different from it, said LSA senior John Notarianni, a participant in the program.

“I’ll never know exactly what the experience did for some of the people in my group, and I don’t know if I can even fully explain what it did for me,” he said. “Go do it and see yourself, Joe Michigan Student.”

Notarianni said the most frustrating aspect of the trip was being so removed from the outside world.

“The first week we kind of clung to (the outside world), singing songs, jabbering about childhood television shows, speculating on world politics and life at home,” he said. “Eventually, it all just faded away and the world shrunk only to our immediate experience.”

While the GIEU program is entirely secular, participants are allowed to explore the religious aspect on their own time.

Notarianni described a definite spiritual element to the pilgrimage.

“Being in the fabled city was a major emotional release, and despite our group being largely secular, the power of the history, the architecture and even just the energy of Santiago was undeniable,” he said.

The trip took five weeks to complete, and while both Notarianni and Noverr cited group tension as a problem, they said the common goal of finishing the 185-mile Camino ultimately unified the group.
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I have difficulties to understand where they were or where or how they went.

According to that article above they went from "Leon, France" "185 miles" in "five weeks" to Santiago???

-They sure knew their way around. Sounds like an interesting shortcut.

Claus 8)


Peter Robins:
wandering around France trying to find Leon

Yeah, that would explain a lot. Not the 185 miles, though. Maybe they found some other Santiago in the end.
Let's call it 'Camino Americano'.

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