Walking the Camino de Santiago

In 2016 ten second-year St Mary’s students and the Principal, Dr Darcy McCormack, walked the renowned Camino de Santiago de Compostella in Spain in the mid-year break. The Camino pilgrimage to the tomb of St James, the apostle, has been undertaken by people for centuries. It provides an opportunity to pause, reflect on our lives, and to support each other along the journey.

The students found the experience challenging and deeply rewarding. As Rosalee Kennedy, a second year environments student, says: “The Camino was such an amazing experience; although it challenged the group mentally and physically it allowed us to grow spiritually and to strengthen our friendships with each other. It was such an enjoyable experience to go on this journey with such a great group of people; we shared jokes, meals, laughter, and supported each other through the difficult times.” Law student Nik Verbeek says “Having the opportunity to walk the Camino with friends from St Mary’s was truly a once in a life experience. The physical challenge ensured we had the chance to reflect, meet people from all over the world, and immerse ourselves in Spanish culture.”

“Walking the Camino fits well with our holistic approach to the college experience and to the development of our students. While the physical challenge was significant, the psychological, social and spiritual dimensions were very apparent each day”, says Dr McCormack. “People have undertaken the Camino pilgrimage for over 1,000 years and it was significant to all of us that we were walking in well-trodden footsteps. It certainly helps put perspective on our lives.” The St Marys’ group walked almost 300 kilometres along the ancient path to Santiago de Compostella. It is hoped to make the Camino a regular feature of college life at St Mary’s.