Pilgrims’ Progress: Journal Entries from a 60th Anniversary Pilgrimage – #5

On August 15, 2019, thirteen Canadian Jesuits will note their 60th Anniversary as members of the Society of Jesus.  Two members of this group – Charlie Pottie Pate, SJ and David Eley, SJ  – have chosen to make a special pilgrimage to mark the occasion.  They have graciously agreed to share their journal entries and photos with igNation which will post them once or twice a week.


#5 Journal, Monday June 10

Our last day in Copenhagen, Denmark! Not without its surprises and graces!

We decided to have a Danish/Copenhagen cultural day for our last day.  So in the morning we went to a famous park just accessible across from our Jesuit church and residence where we have been staying. As you may be well away, Denmark and certainly in Copenhagen they are very environmentally conscious. Bikes everywhere to cut down the carbon trail. They hope to be carbon free by 2025! So the air already here in Copenhagen is fresh and lovely.

This park we visited and roamed around in Is huge, with fields for sports, activities for children, for skateboarding (one of largest in Europe), exercise facilities, etc. and beautiful huge trees surrounding the park (originally a large pasture for animals, transformed into a park in 1904).  We walked  in this fresh, lovely smelling atmosphere and sat and watched young families or two or 3 children, walking or riding their little bikes next to their parents.

The presence of young families and children is noticeable throughout the city and they smile back when we smile at them. That was our morning exercise and outing.

We had noon meal (at 1pm) with the Jesuit community. They take turns in preparing the meals. A delicious pasta with stir fried vegetables and chicken.  Then, as is often the custom in Europe. We go elsewhere for coffee and dessert. So we went out into the garden and sat around a table in a kiosk.

We had a delightful conversation about a number of things, like the discovery of the Caravaggio painting in one our residences in Dublin, Ireland. That was big new a number of years ago in Jesuit circles but also in the world. So now we are supposed to keep a close eye on possible art treasures in our older houses!

We talked about married clergy in the Eastern rites and among the RC tradition – like the Anglican priests who have entered into communion with Rome. And what if celibacy was an option and obligatory? A stimulating back and forth chat that Jesuits love to indulge in!  No decisions made!

Then in the afternoon, we went to Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek – an art gallery that the owner of Carlsberg began. Many wonderful exhibits there. We went to three of them for the afternoon. After that we were saturated.  The first one was the exhibit called “Perfect Poses” – well known sculptors – French and Danish – whose works showed the human body in different poses: standing, sitting, nursing babies, crouching down, group poses.

It was, in my view, an extraordinary exhibit. I’ve seen many sculptures over the years but to put together these works under the category of human poses/ positions was unique and very creative. I took a pic of each one and wish I could show you them all.   Utterly stunning.  Then we went to see the Danish artists’ collection of the 19th c.  These also were so beautiful.

Finally we saw the special exhibit of Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) with his rich colours. Theme was called “the colour of memory” since he did all paintings from memory.

We left at closing time  6 pm and went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. It was called Rio Bravo and had a “western” theme. We weren’t sure if it was Mexico, Texas or even the Stampede look! And the young waitress (first day on) didn’t know either. So we ordered some Danish beer and Danish national food – fish and fried pork with vegetables. Tasty but a little too greasy for me.

Then wanting to return home, we got caught in the Royal Run ’19. This run is sponsored by the Crown Prince of Denmark who is supposed to be quite an athlete and wants to encourage people to participaction.  He started it last year.  This year there were 27,000 people in the 10 km run through the city – of every age, size, colour. Even people with their dogs and people in wheelchairs.

Quite something to watch for a half hour. We had to do some maneuvering to get way back to the residence but eventually we did.  Bravo for these runners and to the Crown Prince for initiating it.  

You can imagine that we were tired enough to head to bed by 10 pm…. We leave for Oslo Norway on the train on Tuesday noon.  More of this later….

Charles Pottie Pate, SJ, is the Prairie and Rockies regions Ecclesial Assistant for CLC. He resides at St. Mary's Cathedral Rectory, Calgary.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:14h, 16 August Reply

    Thank you Charlie!

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