Since 1990, The Remnant has organized
Chapter in the Pilgrimage of Tradition to Chartres, France. This Pilgrimage
dates back to the middle ages. It has been made by kings (such as King Louis
XIV), Queens (such as Mary Queen of Scots), and Saints (such as Joan of
Arc). The famous, the lowly, the noble and the commoner have made this
72-mile walking pilgrimage from Notre Dame in Paris to the great Gothic
cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres.
During World War I and War World II, the Pilgrimage was not possible, for
obvious safety reasons. But it did resume after the wars had ended. It
wasn't until the Second Vatican Council and the Liturgical Revolution which
followed, that the great Pilgrimage was discontinued, apparently for good.
But then, in the early 1980s, several tradition-minded French Catholic
laymen began again to organize the Pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage was held in
honor of Mary, the Mother of God, for the purpose of the restoration of the
traditional Mass and Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
Some 23 years ago, shortly after these few laymen brought the Pilgrimage
back into existence, there were only a handful of pilgrims participating in
the Pilgrimage and, because their priests celebrated only the traditional
Latin Mass, when they arrived in Chartres, they were not allowed to have
Mass inside the Cathedral. Rather, these few pilgrims and their priests were
forced to have Mass outside, in the city of Chartres.
But as the years passed, the popularity of the Pilgrimage grew and grew.
Finally, it became so popular that the Cathedral in Chartres had to open its
doors to these traditionalist pilgrims, whose number by that time had
swelled to ten thousand strong.
Under the organization of several columnists from The Remnant (including
Gary Potter, Michael Matt, and Michael Davies), Americans first began
participating in this pilgrimage in 1990. Every year since that time, The
Remnant has organized the American Chapter (which is usually between 50 and
100 pilgrims strong), and it will be doing so again in 2005.
This Pilgrimage is extremely difficult! It is a 72-mile, 3-day walk from
Paris to Chartres-- through woods and fields and over blacktop highways and
country roads. Pilgrims sleep outside, in floor-less tents. They eat soup,
bread and water. They develop horrible blisters and they suffer unbelievable
And yet there is no experience like this one. Catholics come from all over
Europe, Canada and the United States. They come from Russia, Poland,
Australia, the Ukraine and the Mid East. Traditional Catholics literally
from all over the world come together to sing, to pray, and to offer
penance, and to walk, and walk, and walk-- all of this so that they may
stand and witness to their sacred Catholic Faith.
The Pilgrimage to Chartres is a huge triumph for every traditional Catholic.
With flags waving, banners flying, and statues of saints and the Virgin Mary
being held aloft for all to see, this column of pilgrims stretches out for
miles across France, for three whole days. And on the last day... the last
day... what a bell-ringing, thrilling, and thunderous triumph is celebrated
by 20 thousand singing, weeping, and jubilant Catholic, mud-splattered
Once you have walked (and prayed) the Chartres Pilgrimage, you will never
get it out of your blood... you will never forget it! And remember, this is
not a pilgrimage of fifteen thousand old people. As a matter of fact, we
strongly caution those over 55 or who are in any way sickly, not to attempt
this grueling walk.
The Pilgrimage is VERY DIFFICULT and many good men are forced by the pain
and exhaustion to give up trying to walk the entire way. In that case there
are vans provided to transport the pilgrims to outdoor waiting areas.
This pilgrimage is made up of 15 thousand Catholics whose average age is
25-years-old. Michael Davies called it the "most important annual event
happening in the Church today," and we agree with him completely.
We hope to
see you on the road to Chartres for the
spiritual adventure of a lifetime!