Heading into this pilgrimage, I had already begun to reflect on what roles we, as humans, play in each other’s lives. However, my focus in these reflections was primarily on the relationships and connections I shared with family and close friends. After spending 6 days exploring the path of Father Moreau, it has become abundantly clear to me that the connections in my life extend much further than my own backyard. It just takes a little time, effort, and maybe a step out of your comfort zone to uncover them.

The villagers we met during our journey live over 4,000 miles away from our home at Notre Dame, yet they welcomed us as friends, sharing stories of their families, the town, and the church. Our encounters may have been fleeting but the connections were meaningful all the same.

On a deeper level, the bonds formed with my fellow pilgrims are ones I hope to keep for a lifetime. The physical journey made us fast friends, but the spiritual education and shared dedication to Notre Dame solidified the group as a family. These people, who I’ve shared a campus with for years, changed from strangers to friends after a leap from my comfort zone. Well worth the risk!

Finally, Fr. John provided us with incomparable spiritual, cultural and logistical guidance throughout the trip. Our experience with him can serve as an example of the support and connection available to us from the Holy Cross family on campus.

While I have learned many things on this pilgrimage, I feel one of my greatest lessons has been to nurture even the smallest connections with those around me, as even the most fleeting connections can have a powerful impact.

Written by Kaylee Wolf