The Stations of the Cross are a classic form of worship for many Catholics during the Lenten season. Typically restrained to the confines of a church’s grounds, the devotion this year led one Chicagoan across his city, transit station by transit station.
The Chicago Tribune has the story of Aidan Gillespie, a 25-year-old Catholic schoolteacher who decided to ride every line of the city’s public transit “L” trains as part of his own spiritual retreat centered on the Stations of the Cross.
From the Tribune:
Along the way he stopped at 10 houses of worship to take in their grandeur, meditate and pray. Seventeen hours and 145 CTA stations later, he landed back where he started and completed the journey.
"Even though I'm always moving, the whole idea is witnessing the pulse of the city," said Gillespie, a teacher at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in the Little Village neighborhood. "I like to look for God's presence in every part of my daily life, even though it's sometimes hard to find."
By making his quiet pilgrimage, he also removed himself from a standard routine, enabling him to take in the sights and smells around him instead of aiming for a destination.
In the story, Gillespie recalled a fellow passenger’s compliment to a stranger, something he said he wouldn’t normally recognize or appreciate on his usual commute.
To read more about his pilgrimage by public transit, check out the station-by-station blog of his experience.