Though pilgrims of old often journeyed solo, they were not alone on their journeys.
Their communities journeyed with them vicariously, sending the pilgrim off with prayers and encouragement as the pilgrim willingly set off into the unknown. The knowledge of this support from afar fueled the pilgrim along the path, serving as a reminder that this was a journey worth making when they needed it most.
We, too, can benefit from the support of Journey Companions. Whether we are traveling on pilgrimage abroad or journeying through everyday life, Journey Companions accompany us in spirit and in presence, sharing our desires for the journey and joining us in solidarity and intention each step of the way.
Journey Companions can be pastors, mentors, spiritual directors, close family members, or treasured friends. The Celts had their own term for this—an anam cara or “soul friend”—a person with whom our shared connection is deep beyond words. Whatever the relationship, a Journey Companion should possess these five essential qualities: