Pilgrims’ Progress: Journal Entries from a 60th Anniversary Pilgrimage – #15

On August 15, 2019, thirteen Canadian Jesuits noted 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.


Thursday was a different day! After an early breakfast with Dominican cty we started the day with their weekly ecumenical service at the Studium Catholicum. A Greek orthodox priest led the morning prayer. Besides him there were the Lutheran group, the Dominican cty. and the 2 Jesuits.

It was in Finnish and English  and the Lutheran priest in charge of spirituality gave a fine reflection after the Gospel on the trinity and our call to community. This was followed by tea/coffee cookies.

We started the  seminar on Spiritual Direction the Ignatian Way  at 9 30 with about 40 present. I won’t bore you with content of morning program but it went  quite well from all reports.  Most of them had some experience of the Sp Exercises. many of them are doing direction with others and  there were a few who were interested in learning about the Exercises.

We covered a number of topics around the Exercises and spiritual direction or accompaniment with some good question from them.

We finished at 12 30.  I received a hand carved wooden cup Of Finnish pine Beautiful. And a bottle of cloudberry liqueur. Delicious. At the end I asked them to sing Jean Sibelius’ (famous composer of Finland) “Dear Land of Home” – which I had learned (in English) in our choir at the Cathedral in Halifax. It was beautiful to hear them sing it in Finnish.

After all had gone we had a meal with the Dominicans and did a review of morning. They were most helpful with greeting people, setting up room etc  Their centre provides gatherings like this. A real delight to work with  these Dominicans on this Ignatian seminar. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the morning. I was otherwise occupied!

After a good siesta – I was standing for about 3 hours- we went  to Helsinki s new public  library. Just opened in March. What a marvelous architecture . Same concept of library as behind new Calgary and Halifax libraries. Open stacks for books, places for audio visual materials, computer tables, children area, a patio with beautiful pine chairs, coffee stand  etc.

We had a light supper and back to residence. Friday is our last day in Helsinki.  And our Nordic pilgrimage will end. So many deep cultural expressions of Finnish life and history.

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 01:24h, 20 September Reply

    Thank you Charlie!

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