Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Friday, 4 June 2010

Paris to Chartres Walk May 2010

Just over a week ago I set off in the direction of Paris with a sleeping bag, a few changes of clothes and small provisions with one of the most joyful groups of Pilgrims that you will find. We met at 7am to have Mass celebrated in Westminster Cathedral Crypt which finished with a rapturous version of the French hymn “Chez Nous Soyez Reine” which was to be heard many times during the course of the Pilgrimage.

I was with My Fiancée, Madeleine Readings who I wrote about recently on this blog because she had decided that she would try to raise sponsorship for The Good Counsel Network for completing the Pilgrimage.

Madeleine was attempting to complete the Pilgrimage for the 16th time. She first completed it when she was only 7 years old. She was the youngest person to ever complete the Pilgrimage, a record she still holds(as far as we know.) She has painted a vivid picture for me of her finishing doubled over almost but defiant she would get to Chartres without any assistance.

Now 23 Madeleine not only completes the Pilgrimage but is the “Chef de Chapitre” (chapter leader) of Juventutem which is the English Youth Chapter, which makes her journey twice as hard. I have seen first hand just how hard it can be to keep everyone going at the end of any of the days, especially the second day (which is the longest in terms of walking), when we have been walking for 12 hours and have completed approximately 30 miles. People are really struggling and she has to find a way to keep them going and a way to keep the group together.

The Pilgrimage itself is 72 Miles of walking from Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris to Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres mainly through woods and fields. This year we were blessed with fine weather which if anything was too hot! We had 30 degrees from start to finish once the sun came up. Hardly any food is provided, so we are left mainly with as much food as we can carry on the day.

The nights are meant to be a time of rest, but are actually just as difficult as the day in its own way. We are all in very large plastic communal (single sex) tents which are extremely cold and lie on uneven and stony ground and often have uncut grass up to our knees when standing.

Madeleine and I both successfully completed the Pilgrimage and, for the first time in her memory, we were privileged to get seats inside of the Cathedral in Chartres. The English group have previously been inside, but never had seats, and last year (my first time) we didn’t even manage to get inside.

Madeleine has so far raised close to £1,900 (with gift aid) which is really great news. There is still time to donate towards her sponsorship if you would like to at www.justgiving.com/madeleinereadings . We had set a target of £2,500 which is now within touching distance. If you can dig deep and support my very brave fiancée to support our life-saving work.


  1. Have you ever gone on pilgrimage with the SSPX? Have your network a position in relation to SSPX?

  2. I have never been on pilgrimage with the SSPX. Some of our members have. We have some SSPX supporters whose prayers and support we are really grateful for. It was a great blessing to see the excommunications lifted and our position on the SSPX Clare ~(McCullough, Director)

  3. It appears though that your organisation is more favourable to the 'Indult' or Summorum Pontificum organisations mixed with a bit of the post-conciliar Fr Pavone Catholicism.

    I'm certainly a supporter of the SSPX.

  4. My last comment should have ended "our position on the SSPX is exactly the same as that of the Church" but that bit disappeared when I posted it.
    We are just Catholic, full stop.


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