Tuesday 9 October 2012

Pro-Life Pilgrimage

On Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to join with the Pilgrimage of Reparation and Prayer for the Sanctity of Life which took place at Osmotherley in the Hambleton Hills of the North Yorkshire moors and on the route of the Cleveland Way, National Trail. Our journey began with the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary prayed collectively on the coach as we sped down the A19 and then through the beautiful countryside of the North Yorkshire moors.

The picturesque village of Osmotherley was bathed in sunshine under a cloudless blue sky making it a perfect day for our pilgrimage hike up to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Grace. There were twenty eight souls making the pilgrimage and ages ranged from as young as three years to the very old and was led by Marileine who was the organiser of the pilgrimage. Any infirmity didn't seem to matter as the young and old, the fit and the rickety and those with a bag on each arm to balance themselves gathered together in faith outside the village shop before our ascent to the shrine.

Turning off the main road we started our climb up a muddy and stony track that led up a steep hill. Rivulets of water from recent rains flowed or trickled down the track, crossing our paths unexpectedly and causing us to pick our way for fear of slipping into puddles and getting soaked. The woodland hillside was still green and lush, not having given into Autumn as yet. Occasionally we could peak through the trees at the vista beyond, way below us and as far as the eye could see fields and hedgerows bathed in glorious light.

Every so often we stopped at a station of the cross and prayed. I was reminded of the road to Calvary and the great sacrifice made by Christ for our sins. I hadn't thought I could manage this climb but with a leap of faith I was able to make it and was so glad I did.

Stations of the Cross

We all made it to the shrine and Our Lady's Chapel in one piece and after praying the Angelus we took some rest and had a picnic in the grounds of the Chapel. Tea and coffee was kindly provided.

Sisters of the Renewal and Marileine.
I chatted to two Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal who had joined us on the pilgrimage. They were both from the US but were based in Leeds. Sisters Catherine and John Paul were lovely, very young and very dedicated and it was a pleasure to have their company.

Our Lady's Chapel

Inside Our Lady's Chapel
Later we attended Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. We prayed the sorrowful mysteries and took time to reflect on the needs of babies in the womb, their mothers and the support they need in these  sorrowful times and our own pro-life ministries. There was then an opportunity for confession before mass and time to take a break. Father Damien led mass in the tiny chapel, which was filled to capacity with pilgrims. During mass I noticed a beautiful butterfly, a welcome visitor and possibly a Red Admiral dancing in the sunshine rays that cascaded through the high windows of the chapel to the altar below.

Father Damien joined us after mass for tea and coffee with home made scones and cake provided by volunteers. He was kept very busy chatting and blessing lots of medals and religious objects bought at the piety shop. I was able to buy three delightful nativities, one each for my grown up children and their families. Each one carries a Christmas Blessing and I hope they will stay in my children's Christmases for many years to come.

Although the day had been beautiful in every respect I was feeling too tired to head back down the hill to Osmotherley on foot and accepted a lift from one of the volunteers. I am very grateful to Flora for taking four of us in her car down into the village centre where our coach was waiting for us. On the way home we prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, making our glorious pilgrimage complete!  Although not officially starting until October 11th I hope it is for me, the preparation and beginning of my Year of Faith, 2012 - 2013.


  1. Lovely photographs, Carolyn, the day must have been perfect. Very best wishes for the future. I hope to meet you on Thursday. Hazel x

  2. what a lovely discription of your day i pray ur treatment works for you
    hugs chrissy o

  3. Faith can do so much, and you seem to have it in plenty. It was lovely to share your day through your writing.
    I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless you.
    elaine xx