June 12, 2010

After spending four weeks as a hermit in the mountain of Busay overlooking the city of Cebu, I finally descended the other day. My journey as a pilgrim is about to start. I will be leaving for the airport a few minutes from now. In a couple of hours I will be taking the flight to Rome, Italy.

It’s been 15 years since I left Rome after finishing my doctorate at the Gregorian University in 1995 . I will be returning as a pilgrim to the city which I love so much – bella Roma! I will also attend a summer workshop on Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue.

From Rome, I fly to Madrid on July 10 and from there find my way to the French village of St. Jean Pied a Port at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains where I will begin my 800 km running/walking pilgrimage across Northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I’m excited and also filled with anxiety, wondering if I can – like Francis of Assisi- do the pilgrimage barefoot. I brought my pair sandals, in case the temperature rises over 35*C and the road becomes scorching hot and I will have to use it until it is safe to walk barefoot again. But definitely no shoes. I am relying on Divine Providence to enable me to complete my journey safely. I am also bringing my ultralight tent so that I can sleep under the stars.

Rome and Santiago de Compostela – here I come! Buen Camino!

18 Enero 1883

Rizal estuvo hablando mucho conmigo, casi toda la noche; me dijo que tenía mucho talento, que era muy diplomática y que iba á ver si podía en dos semanas sacarme alguna verdad, que era misteriosa y tenía como un velo por encima de mis ideas. Me preguntó que autor predilecto tenía yo; no sé qué le contesté porque ya no me sentía bien, Lete le dijo que él no me había comprendido tampoco y yo dije que era facil y que estaba segura que me entendería Rizal enseguida. Ahora me pesa haber dicho esto. ¿No le he dado con ello una esperanza?

Me dijo Rizal que renegaba de las mujeres amables porque se sonrien y que ellos se figuran que es por otra cosa. Como la noche antes me había dicho
que era muy amable comprendi que lo decía por mí y le dije: para no equivocarse, el hombre debe antes estudiar el terreno y si vé que es con todos no debe de hacer caso de sus sonrisas porque al repartirlas tanto, pierden todo su valor.

Rizal talked with me for a long time, almost the whole night. He told me that I was very talented, that I was very diplomatic, and that he was going to see if he could extract some truth from me within two weeks; that I was mysterious and that I had a veil over my ideas. He asked me who my favorite author was; I don’t know what I answered him because I was no longer feeling well. Lete told him that neither had he understood me and I said that it was easy and I was sure that Rizal would understand me forthwith. Now I’m sorry for having said this. Have I not given him hope with it?

Rizal told me that he detested amiable women because when they smiled, men imagined that they did so for something else. As he had told me the night before that I was very amiable, I understood that he meant it and I left him so that he would not make a mistake. A man should first study the ground and if he sees that the smile is for everybody he ought not to pay attention to her smiles because in distributing them so freely they lose all their meaning.