Pilgrimage - Story, Place, Spirit, Witness

Volume 32 Issue 2

In the stories that appear in this issue, one form of passion often leads to another. In Mary Sojourner’s story, “Officer Magdalena, White Shell Woman, and Me,” a passion for place (the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau) inspires the narrator to witness against a uranium mine in solidarity with those who experience their homeland as nothing less than holy. And in the process of this witness, the narrator senses a deeper, perhaps even spiritual, bond with those she encounters in a jail cell. Bearing witness to another man’s passion for place and prayer, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher feels led to consider the absence and presence of such passions in his own life. Simmons Bunting follows his daughter’s passion into the urban desert as they search for the lovely handcrafted bells, hung randomly throughout Tucson every year, to celebrate the life of a child that died much too soon. In the case of Ben’s Bells, grieving parents found a way to passion, and brought light and grace into their community as a result. I hope that these and other explorations in this issue may, in some small way, invite our own expressions of passion and compassion along the way.

I wasn’t seeing things. There was nothing psychedelic, nothing like the visions I hear some people describe. Nobody had colors glowing around her head and there was no big Grandfather God voice speaking. Those Las Vegas moments don’t come to me. Blessed be . . . . Truth is, I’m grateful to be spared any 3-D visitations. Whatever moves out there, whatever hums and dances in me, She knows I’m scared. She knows I’ve seen enough, heard enough to last a lifetime. She knows I can only take a little at a time.

~from Officer Magdalena, White Shell Woman, and Me
by Mary Sojourner

To the east, a thumbnail of moon so thin it is almost a wisp hangs above the Rincon Mountains. The wind is blowing from those mountains this evening, singing lightly down the shadowed ridges, through shallow box canyons, across the Pantano Wash, and into my yard. From here it continues west along many paths, including the route my daughters and I walked this morning, perhaps nudging those Ben’s Bells that no one has yet found. If I listen closely, I may be able to hear them. They ring and ring through the star-pierced night.

~from Ben’s Bells
by Simmons B. Buntin

Photo by Aubrey Bodine


Pilgrimage Magazine, published three times a year, emphasizes themes of place, spirit, peace & justice, in and beyond the Greater Southwest.

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