Days 11-12. Arrived at Conque, our final destination on the French side of the Camino! We stayed at a Benedictine monastery famous for housing the remains and relics of St. Foy (Santa Fe), a girl who was tortured to death by the Romans in the 4th century because she professed to be a Christian. Below is a monk explaining the ornately carved tympanum of the Last Judgement over the door to the church, where we later gathered with about 40 other pilgrims for evening prayer and singing (compline).
Day 13. St. Jean Pied de Port. This is our starting point for the Spain side of the Camino de Santiago; it is a fortified city in the lower Pyrenees on the French side of the border. It has been good to rest since Rachel has a sore throat and I'm having some arch problems because of my flat feet. Here she is in front of the scallop shell symbol, which pilgrims carry on their packs and is a sign of the Camino.
Day 14-15. Crossing over the mountains. Before leaving St. Jean, I received word that a young man died who I worked with last year at Community Roots Garden through a gang reduction program. He died after a fight from stab wounds. I hiked over the Pyrenees with heaviness, remembering Erin and carrying his family, friends and enemies in Oxnard with me. Praying for an end to violence like this, for those who carry heavy burdens every day, and that I may be a part of the things that make for peace.