Andrew Fournier is continuing his Pilgrimage for Life across Canada, bringing his message and example of hope and commitment to communities and chance-met strangers, “from sea to shining sea.”
Begun on March 1, 2000 on Cape Breton Island, the then 19-year-old Fournier walked through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and as far as Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario by September 20, a distance of over 2,500 kilometers.
Along the way, he spoke at churches and schools whenever possible and witnessed to the pro-life message in several impromptu meetings. Fournier was also interviewed for local and national newspapers (both Canadian and American), for radio (including Vatican Radio) and by several magazine writers.
With the exception of a three-week period at the end of August and beginning of September when he was joined by Caleb Allard, he walked alone with a pack on his back. For much of the distance between Sidney, Nova Scotia and Sault Ste. Marie, Fournier was billeted at night by volunteers organized by Campaign Life Coalition Youth. Between Barrie and Sudbury, when billets (and more importantly, food!) were not available, he camped out on several occasions.
After spending the winter working the midnight shift at a Becker’s store, continuing to speak to groups about the importance of the pro-life issue and soliciting support from the Knights of Columbus, the now 21-year-old Fournier began walking again on April 25, 2001. He is confident that he’ll be in Vancouver well before November. He is also confident that he’ll reach Calgary in time to catch a lift home to his sister’s wedding at the end of August.
Fournier was able to reach Thunder Bay in just over a month on June 7. This may seem slow, though not when you realize that it is a distance of over 700 kilometers. Most people, even young people, would find it difficult to walk 10 kilometers in one day and do anything the next day. Fournier carries his back pack and walks 30 to 35 kilometers a day for three days, then takes a speaking engagement and rest day. The generous and much appreciated support of several Knights of Columbus councils along the way found Fournier billets, food and money for incidentals (incidentals include things like walking boots which need to be replaced every month – with size 14 feet they are not easy to find or cheap!) as he walked along Highway 17 between “The Soo” and Thunder Bay.
And now he’s heading for Kenora, Ontario and points west. A great-uncle in Manitoba has been eagerly following Fournier’s progress across the country and promises that, “A convoy of camper vans will meet him in Kenora and escort him across Manitoba!” He’s looking forward to it, and to some great Ukrainian cooking while in Manitoba – holobsti just like his Baba makes.
Friends and total strangers assure him that the Pilgrimage for Life has brought a message and example of hope and commitment to all who hear of it. He is eager to continue and urges anyone who reads this to do three things: 1. Pray for him. 2. Contact CLC or the Knights of Columbus and arrange speaking engagements as he passes through or near your community, and if you live east of Thunder Bay, arrange an event for December or January. 3. Send money. Campaign Life Coalition Youth, Canadian Food for Children and the Pilgrimage for Life need funds to carry on their work (and Fournier needs shoes!).
To arrange a meeting for this winter, call the Fournier residence at (613) 623-6216.