“The Way,” Pilgrimage Movie Background

According to an article in AARP:  The Magazine written by the actor Martin Sheen, the sacred pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela changed his life:

My father was from the rugged mountainous, and rainy province of Galicia in northwestern Spain . . .  Galicia is fiercely independent, with its own twist on the Spanish language, and known as the home to one of Spain’s oldest, most sacred  treasures:  the provincial capital of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of Saint James the Apostle are venerated. . .  Santiago de Compostela (is) a UNESCO World Heritage site . . . and (has been) the destination of millions of pilgrims from every part of the world for more than 1,000 years.

Cathedral at Santigo de Compostela, Terminus of Ancient Pilgrimage Route

In 2003, Martin, a grandson, and friend walked and drove the pilgrimage route from Burgos (north-central Spain) to Santiago de Compostela:

I was trekking along the same path that Saint Francis of Assisi and millions of pilgrims have walked for 1,000 years.  They say that you cannot make the journey without community, but you’re doing it on your own.  The destination is the same, but the interior journey, which is deeply personal, makes every experience different.  As I walked, I was filled with satisfaction–something I felt often throughout the trip.

The Ancient Pilgrimage Route Across Northern Sparin

  At the end of the historic pilgrimage:

. . . we entered the cathedral with a huge throng of pilgrims from every corner of the earth.  We attended the Pilgrim’s Mass, celebrated every day at noon, which concludes with a final blessing.  Then a gigantic incense burner was hoisted aloft on a pulley by a half dozen men wearing medieval costumes, and was flung from one side of the cathedral’s ceiling to the other.  It filled the air with an enormous cloud of sweet fragrance and prompted thunderous applause from the delighted congregation.

After the 2003 journey, Martin recounted the entire experience for his son Emilio in the hope that he might consider writing a script about it.  In 2009, with script in hand, Emilo, Martin, the cast and crew returned to Spain to film movie The Way:

Martin Sheen on the Ancient Pilgrimage to Santiage de Composela

I’m proud that he (Emilio) dedicated it (“The Way”) to his grandfather, Francisco Estevez.  What started as a journey inspired by my father ended with a tribute to him.  It also changed me, my son, and my grandson forever.

For a movie review see:  https://rogerdhansen.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/the-way-a-review/

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This entry was posted in catholicism, Movies, Personalities, pilgrimage, Religion, Travel, Walking. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “The Way,” Pilgrimage Movie Background

  1. Pingback: “The Way,” a Movie Review | Tired Road Warrior

  2. Rayla Passerrello says:

    The movie has been an inspiration! My husband and I want to make the pilgrimage . Thanks

  3. I am still deeply touched by the movie. The human struggles and the strength of the human spirit are portrayed so realistically. I had no idea until now that it was inspired by Martin Sheen’s own pilgrimage. I only found this site because I am looking into the possibility of doing the pilgrimage myself.

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