A very special pilgrimage began on Friday 19 June this year when a solitary backpack known as La Luz del Camino was blessed and farewelled in the traditional way of all pilgrims at the
Collegiata Church of Roncesvalles before setting off for Santiago.
La Luz del Camino was the inspiration of a group of pilgrims and hospitaleros who live in Spain to walk a special Camino to honour the memory of all CoVid19 victims. The backpack, nicknamed ‘La Niña’, was carried by a relay of 100 or more people who live and work on the Camino for a day or two each to highlight the importance of Camino values when facing times like these, and to light a flame of hope for the future.
“Hope is what we carry in this pilgrim backpack,” said organiser Mariló López, before handing over to Carmen, hospitalera of Posada del Camino at Lintzoain. “We really hope to fill peoples’ hearts with hope, strength and confidence.”
La Niña carried a small ‘eternal flame’ light and a photograph in addition to the usual pilgrim mementos. All along the Camino people came out to greet her, many walking part of the way with her carriers. Mariló posted daily updates on Facebook about La Niña’s progress, detailing the places they stayed and the people they met along the way.
La Niña arrived at midday on Friday, 24 July in the Plaza d’Obradoiro and was blessed by the Archbishop that evening. Afterwards the prayers carried inside the pack were read aloud in the Plaza.
Similar initiatives sprang up in Portugal from Porto and another in Italy where a pilgrim staff was carried, rather than a backpack.
With thanks to Inés Jewell (VIC) for this article from the heart of the Camino.