An eight-day trek that started in Orbost, Victoria, came to its final destination last Wednesday at Mary MacKillop Hall in Eden, NSW, as part of the MacKillop-Woods Way pilgrimage, The Eden Magnet reports.
David Schütz and Seán Deany walked the inland trail over eight days following in the footsteps of Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop. The pair was joined by Paul Coghlan, who played the role as driver and cyclist.
The three Melburnians passed through Goongerah, Bendoc, Craigie, Bombala, Cathcart and Towamba on the 240km journey.
Mr Schütz said the experience evolved over the pilgrimage.
“At the start the focus was on being out in nature, but the balance changed with the engagement we had with people along the way, especially the passage from Bombala through Rocky Hall and Towamba and now Eden,” he said. “The engagement with the people has been a very touching thing for me.”
Mr Deany said it was a pleasure to educate people about St Mary MacKillop when people asked about their pilgrimage, while Mr Coghlan was full of praise for fellow drivers on the road.
The group averaged 27.5km each day and each pilgrim admitted their experience varied.
“People do it for different reasons, whether it’s spiritual reasons or physical reasons,” Mr Schütz said. “The man who started the ‘Aussie Camino’, his wife had died and he needed to process that and thought walking would do it. No one can impose the meaning of a pilgrimage.”
The three men were welcomed by Our Lady Star of the Sea parish, including Mass, dinner and a morning tea on April 27 before they returned to Melbourne.
Mary MacKillop visited Eden in 1899 and 1901. Mary’s mother, Flora, was one of 76 people on the steamer, Ly-ee-Moon, to drown on May 30, 1886. Appreciative of the care and love shown to her mother by the Eden people, Mary decided to send Sisters to establish a school in Eden.
PHOTO Seán Deany, David Schütz and Paul Coghlan (Eden Magnet/Zach Hubber)
Aussie Camino of Saint Mary MacKillop pitstops in Eden (Eden Magnet)