One year from today will mark the centenary of Fr Doyle’s death as a “martyr of charity”. It is a significant anniversary.
A number of people have suggested to me that a “pilgrimage” should be held to walk in Fr Doyle’s footsteps and to celebrate his life.
What I would have in mind is something along the following lines:
- A visit to key sites associated with Fr Doyle, culminating in a visit (and possibly Mass??) at the spot where he was killed
- A visit to nearby Amettes in France, the birthplace of St Benedict Joseph Labre. Fr Doyle visited this location and said that St Benedict Joseph always had a “strange fascination” for him.
- A visit to Bruges, a beautiful nearby city, with the Basilica of the Precious Blood (http://www.holyblood.com/?lang=en) and the English Convent which houses a very rare first class relic of St Thomas More (http://www.the-english-convent.be/en)
- A visit to Maredsous, where the famous Irish Benedictine monk and spiritual writer Blessed Columba Marmion was abbot and where he is buried (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maredsous_Abbey)
- A visit to the shrine of St Damien in Leuven. Fr Doyle wanted to go and work amongst the lepers if he survived the war; he was presumably inspired in this intention by the life of St Damien (http://www.spiritualtravels.info/articles-2/europe-2/the-shrine-of-father-damien-of-belgium-patron-of-outcasts/)
- A visit to Geel, the location of the shrine to St Dymphna, an ancient Irish saint and patron of those with mental health challenges (https://www.ncronline.org/news/global/inspired-dymphna-belgium-town-welcomes-mentally-ill)
This is only an indicative suggestion. At the moment I am merely canvassing interest in such a trip. I have no idea how much it would cost or what the arrangements would be. But I have received enough enquiries to suggest that such a trip would appeal to a number of people. If it is of interest please send me an email or perhaps leave a comment below…