My fellow pilgrim and I arrived in Santiago do Compostela Monday, meeting many familiar faces from along the way, and seeing other familiar faces arrive after we did. It's been a fascinating journey.One surprise for me is the number of older pilgrims, people at or near retirement age. We met a lot of couples who set out to Santiago as a short, vigorous vacation, but there were also those who were figuring out what one recent retiree called "Stage Three." If Stage One is education and the adventures of youth, and Stage Two is the different adventures of marriage, family and career, what will Stage Three hold? For them, walking the camino held a promise of adventures in the present and yet to come, was a demonstration of their continued physical well-being and love for each other, and it also gave them time to talk together about how to continue to be of service to others in the world. It was a long walking retreat at a transformative time in their lives.We seem to have a number of ways to mark the various transitions of Stages One and Two, but few, if any, for Stage Three. Of course, there is always the camino.
Lisa Fullam is professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).