By Alyssa Bormes

Camino de Santiago. Photo courtesy of Emily Green. Used with permission.

Camino de Santiago. Photo courtesy of Emily Green. Used with permission.

Publication deadlines are a funny thing. I love funny things, but I’m not so much a fan of deadlines. Here I am writing about the end of the Camino before I even begin it.

Maybe you followed my journey—or you may still want to follow it. Go to and put in my name, Alyssa Bormes. Then, you will have a sense of the whole trip.

As you read this, I am probably out for one more great meal in Barcelona; tomorrow we fly home. But you ask, “Who are ‘we’ and why are we in Barcelona?”

On June 13, I began a journey with my stepsister Brenda, which we actually began on Easter Monday. We were together in Aberdeen, SD, walking to Mass. We realized we were both baptized at the same church, St. Mary. We realized we were beginning our Camino pilgrimage at the place where everything began—right at the Baptismal font. Father gave us a blessing for pilgrims at the font after Mass, and he said that this was the perfect place to begin.

We flew to Paris, took trains to get to our starting point in France, and traveled across Spain to Santiago de Compostela. We arrived on the eve of the Feast of St. James, and there were fireworks and a party that night. We were met by her dad, my stepdad Jim, whose 84th birthday is on the feast day. Brenda’s son was with us, as were two other nieces, who traveled with Jim to be there. We attended the pilgrims’ Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago. We traveled to Barcelona, and especially loved the Cathedral of the Holy Family.

And we are on our way home.

So what has the Camino given me? I began broken. But somehow The Way has given me a million stories, new friends, and an unbreakable bond with Brenda.

But then there are the spiritual gifts. For the year leading to the journey, there were a million little things to distract me from going. However, I was compelled to go. St. James was calling me to come to him.

And now we run into the issue of deadlines again. Remember, I am writing this before having left for the Camino. Yet, I am going to tell you of the gifts from the end.

Having begun broken and empty, St. James walked next to me, holding me up, while Jesus filled me. Our Good Lord allowed me to feel abandoned, lonely, sad, joyful, overwhelmed, loving, merciful, frightened, fully alive, and a host of other things.

In short, Jesus has been reckless with His love. He has wantonly loved me in the most unexpected ways. In the last year, He has given me the Big Three, as in three big pilgrimages. I have been to Rome, the Holy Land, and walked the Camino.

And there is one more deadline. He has asked me to give away every spiritual gift from the Big Three, and I am to do it all before meeting Him again when He calls me home.

I’m all in, and He has said, “Go!”