As today was the final walk into the historic town, Penola, we were all hanging outside the hotel anxiously wanting to start walking. Chrissy was leading a small group doing the “prep stretch”. I was very pleased to hang around her (every morning) to prime my body with all sorts of stretching. I was no way as flexible as her. Being an ex-ballet dancer and having taken up ballet dancing again, she had an unfair competitive advantage over me. I was happy to see her so fit which means that she will live to a good old age without the risks of severe mobility limitations. Chrissy, thanks for the exercise every morning. My back have been as good as gold. And on this last day, I was confident that I would triumphantly march into Penola without back problem. My chiropractor, Lorriane, would be ever so proud to hear this!
Kalanagdoo to Penola 26km : The overview instruction in the Pilgrim Guide states:
“Very important to wear long pants today! This will become obvious. This is quite a short day but not the easiest”.
I loved the feel of country town. The air is so crisp and so quiet. We have literally the whole town and the whole road to ourselves. In all that time, there was one person that we encounter, local farmer (I assumed) that drove by at a country speed of 10kmp and stopped for a yarn (a chat).
Before we set , we gathered with ur leader Luke to prepare ourselves spiritually for the walk with our daily meditation and prayer.
Meditation for the Day
Getting to Penola
It was here in 1866 that Mary MacKillop, an outstanding young teacher and Julian Tenison Woods, a priest and brilliant scientist, founded the uniquely Australian Sisters of St Joseph.
They provided a Catholic education, initially for the isolated bush children of Penola. Since then the lives of many throughout Australia and overseas have been enriched and transformed.
“Little did either of us then dream of what to spring
from so small a beginning.”
Mary Mackillop 1891
The Camino Australia is now a reality. The gem of idea has produced a modest harvest from beginnings. There have been a few pilgrimages in Australia: Tasmania, New South wales, Northern Territory, and New Norcia in Western Australia. This is ours for the moment. Maybe it has brought changes in our inner self, or led us from forgiveness to thanks giving.
Aussie Camino Prayer
God of Pilgrims, Saint Mary MacKillop trusted your guidance in her journey of life and deepened her confidence in your will.
May we renew our trust in your Providence to lead us in hope.
May we relish the sacred in the ordinariness of our lives.
May we grow in the fullness of your love and the depth of your mystery.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the life.”
Today is the last day for Gus to walk with one more pilgrims before retiring until the next pilgrimage. Yesterday,Peggy and young Keelin had the privilege of Gus walking with them in the sun, followed by rain, sleet and strong wind. Gus had it all from the cliff tops to the sea beach, fro paddocks to pine plantations, winning away quiet country towns.. Today the journey would be along railway tracks and then into Penola.
I was surprised that I was awarded the company of Gus by Peggy and Keelin for three roles : blister busters, weatherman and the Camino paprazi.
I was recognised for my skills as the official camino blister busters. With one case, it was a bit beyond me. Phil’s toenail was bleeding and was about to drop off. I asked one of the pilgrims to get Dr Michael A for a specialist consult. Dr Michael A kindly assisted and agreed that we should wrapped up his toe rather than mess around with the injured toe. I was glad that I was able to help as blisters can spoil the whole walk.
Yesterday’s weather forecast was a bit tricky but was spot on. The other days were straight forward – hot. With yesterday, Peggy was either impressed or horrified by the accuracy of my weather forecast, that the rain of about 5mm would come in at about 11am. It did. Some one commented that it was more than 5mm. I thought so. It was more than what we bargained for when the rain turned into sleet with strong wind. I did not know that I was the “weatherman” for the camino.
However, I would not deny that my photographic enthusiasm must have been just a little bit too noticeable. I hope that the recognition of my role as the “paparazzi” did not mean that I was stalking or harassing any of the pilgrims. You are welcome to enjoy the gallery of photos of our journey in this blog. Please send yours through to be added in.
With that, Gus was pinned onto the back of my day pack to walk with me for the rest of the day.