Pilgrim Scéal – the Irish monastic tradition
Lough Derg, the Sanctuary of St Patrick, is a unique island of pilgrimage, in a small lake in County Donegal, Ireland. Lough Derg has been welcoming pilgrims for over 1,000 years. In the past 150 years alone, almost 2 million people have spent time in prayer on the holy Island. When it comes to celebrating the Year of Faith many are planning to do so by making the Three Day Pilgrimage. Some will return after many years, others for the first time.
All will make ‘Stations’: they will walk barefooted, kneel on the hallowed beds, fast and keep vigil. All the while they will be connecting with suffering and starving people of our world, while keeping in touch with the soil and the rocks of the earth, their feet firmly on the ground.
They will ‘do the pilgrimage’ as people say, because Lough Derg, like so much in Celtic Spirituality, is about doing. It is a Body Prayer – you do it.
And when you have completed it you will have a great feeling of satisfaction. You will have done Lough Derg. Those who have will tell you that the feeling you have on the morning of the third day when you put on your shoes again is unequalled; there is nothing really like it. You feel refreshed, renewed, cleansed, energised. It really is a kind of resurrection experience.
Lough Derg is inviting people to join in the Gathering and Celebrate this Year of Faith by doing Lough Derg.