Rediscovering Hope: A Journey through Pilgrimage and History – The Three Altars Way

During the Easter holidays, I was invited by the friends of Padley Chapel who are developing local pilgrimage routes, to join them on pilgrimage to Padley Chapel, marking the beginning of a spiritual journey during the Year of Prayer, themed ‘Pilgrims of Hope.’ In a world yearning for solace, our expedition aimed to revive faith and inspire optimism as we traced the resilient footsteps of the past.

Our journey commenced at Padley Chapel, a sacred haven boasting a rare pre-Reformation altar, miraculously spared from the ravages of 1588, only to be unearthed in 1933. Here, amidst echoes of history, we gathered with fellow pilgrims, embarking on a quest for spiritual rejuvenation.

Our next destination was St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Hathersage, a testament to endurance and resilience. Constructed in 1690, this sacred sanctuary bore witness to destruction at the hands of the Duke of Devonshire, only to rise from the ashes in the early 19th century, a symbol of unwavering faith.

Continuing our pilgrimage, we ascended to the Holy Trinity Chapel at North Lees, overlooking Hathersage, a site steeped in the shadows of 13th-century Beauchief Abbey. The altar is likely to still lie in the ruins of the chapel today. We were very blessed to have Fr Des Sexton celebrate Mass on the site of its altar. With one pilgrim, who is currently a Y13 student in our school, receiving Holy Communion for only the second time, after being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil in St Marie’s Cathedral. Fr. Sexton reminded us, that what was most important, was commemorating, individual’s personal sacrifices, to maintain the Catholic faith, in the Hope Valley . We were all standing on the shoulders of past local ‘giants’ of the faith. This celebration of Mass that day, was probably the first time that Mass had been celebrated there in 332 years1 Amidst the remnants of destruction, we found not despair, but a beacon of hope—a testament to the unconquerable human spirit. As we concluded our pilgrimage, I reflected on the timeless message of resilience and hope, echoing through the annals of history. In a world plagued by uncertainty, our pilgrimage served as a poignant reminder; a reminder that even amidst the darkest of times, hope endures, guiding us towards a brighter tomorrow.

God Bless.
Suzanne – Chaplain