Walking the Mission Trail in the 21st Century

Catherine Murphy and Jill Ballard started out in September 2015 walking from Mission Sonoma to Mission San Rafael. Their intention was to walk to all 21 missions in California, with their eventual goal being to end up at Mission San Diego 800 miles away from their start.
Jill mapped out the route with the help of Butch Brierley’s California Mission Walkers guide. They walked about 15 miles a day. Where they stopped one day, they would pick up the next. They would schedule their walking time as they could fit it in between everything else that they do
They have seen all the missions now and they are all beautiful in their own way. The people at the missions are very different: some are open and inviting, others not so much. They’ve learned a lot about what was important to the missionary Friars and the Native Americans of the different areas. Jill and Catherine remarked that it’s really surprising to learn that there were many more Indian tribes (all with their own language) then there were missions. The Friars needed to learn all these different languages to be able to catechize the Native Americans.
All in all they learned a lot about our missions and our state. The entire California Camino took them on some very diverse routes. Catherine and Jill tried to stay as close as possible to the original Friars’ trail, not always easy when Hwy 101 and railway tunnels (modern day California infrastructure), are now built over parts of it. They are very happy to have had this pilgrimage experience, and the chance to walk through the vineyards and fields, along the coastline and over mountain ranges. If anyone would like to do this for themselves, talk with either Catherine at cmshearley@yahoo.com or Jill at jillballard5@gmail.com.
Religious Education News By Joan Schenck, DRE • jschenck@sfcschool.org