Friday, October 29, 2010

Patron Saint of pilgrims and guides

Bona of Pisa (c. 1156 – 1207)
Info and Photo Wiki
When I was planning the amaWalkers guided walk to Santiago, I thought it would be nice to have a patron saint for our group.  I did a search on the internet and came up with Saint Bona of Pisa, a 12th c saint who led 10 groups of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. 
At a young age she saw a vision of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and three saints,  including James the Greater. She was frightened by the light around these figures, and ran away. James pursued her, and led her back to the image of Jesus. Bona observed a pronounced devotion to James for the rest of her life.
After leading her first group of pilgrims to Santiago she was made an official guide by the Knights of Santiago. She went on to lead 8 more groups and despite being ill she lead a 10th group and died at the age of 51 shortly after returning home.   Saint Bona is regarded as the patron saint of travellers, and specifically couriers, guides, pilgrims, travellers, flight attendants, and, of course, the city of Pisa.

Yesterday I discovered that her her feast day is celebrated on May 29 - the day our walking holiday starts from Roncesvalles! Is that synchronicity, or what?

Plans are going well for the walk and I have such a good feeling about it! Besides walking the three sections of the Camino we will have time for extra excurisons - to see the castle at Clavijo, where Santiago was first seen on his white horse fighting off the Moors and so became known as Santiago Matamoros: we'll have breakfast at O Cebreiro on our way to Sarria and we'll visit 'Las Meduals", the remains of the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire. We are planning on doing a Nocturnal Walking Tour of Santiago's old town culminating in a visit to a club for a Queimada and a Sunset trip to Finisterre with wine and tapas to celebrate the end of our walk.

Most of the hotels, inns, apartments, private albergues have been booked or chosen and we will take the Chu-chu tourist trains in Burgos, Leon and Santiago.  We only have two places left on the walk - with 4 friends waiting for a slot for four. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow Sil - I am jealous! Wish I could pack my bags right now! I have to wait until July 2012 for my camino but will be following you all the way on your trip.

    Good luck with all the planning, you clearly are doing a great job.