Co-Chair North, Ruth’s Blog
14th August 2023
We made it!
It took us three years and ten months to complete the Two Saint’s Way from Chester Cathedral to Lichfield Cathedral – 92 miles. This was a Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District MWiB project. We set the target of completing the Pilgrimage in a year, beginning in October 2019 and we began with twelve pilgrims, entering Chester Cathedral by the Pilgrim’s Door, to gather at the shrine of St Werburgh, daughter of the King of Mercia, who founded a nunnery. We began in earnest, following the Shropshire Union Canal. However, after a particularly muddy stretch in November, we decided to do the rest after Christmas. Covid struck, people succumbed, then there were other illnesses, the dates of the legs were not convenient for some so the number of pilgrims dwindled.
Following the signs depicting the Cross of St Chad, we walked through the three counties of Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, through towns, cities and villages. We were made welcome at churches and shrines along the way and discovered beautiful, previously unknown countryside. It has also been a logistical operation, as we worked out whose car was to be where, and which shoes to put in which car; sometimes we made mistakes and ended up with the wrong footwear, but we have prayed together, laughed, shared stories, sometimes cried and grown closer together and to God. Some pilgrims joined us for part of our journey and hope to complete the pilgrimage sometime in the future, but five of us walked the last leg, ending at St Chad’s Well in Lichfield, standing in silence as we reflected on the Pilgrim’s path we had completed. It was an emotional moment. We ended as we had begun, in prayer, and then attended Evensong at Lichfield Cathedral. The five of us celebrated by having a meal together in a restaurant overlooking the lake, the Cathedral and St Chad’s Church – a fitting end to a wonderful experience.
So, what have we learnt? Perseverance, patience, tolerance, the closeness of God in our daily lives, the importance of sharing our faith with others and empathy with the saints. It was an experience shared and one we will never forget.
‘We are pilgrims on a journey,
And companions on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load…….
Brother, sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant too.’
Richard A M Gillard