2013-08-03 / News

World walker stops here

By Scott Rawdon

Pilgrim George visited Buckeye Lake Wednesday morning. Beacon photo by Scott Rawdon. Pilgrim George visited Buckeye Lake Wednesday morning. Beacon photo by Scott Rawdon. BUCKEYE LAKE – A legendary traveler wandered through Buckeye Lake Village Wednesday morning, on his way to meet a friend at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and take a short break from walking. “I’ve walked for 43 years,” said George Walter, better known worldwide as “Pilgrim George,” who is spending the summer on 700-mile trek through Ohio, much of it on U.S. 40.

According to OSV Newsweekly, Walter lives at Holy Trinity Monastery in Butler, Pa., when he’s not trekking around the globe. He has walked 40,000 miles in more than 40 nations, including North America, Europe, the Middle East and Far East, across Siberia, and he has visited Rome and the Holy Land twice. He began his 2013 trek May 20, and continues to cross Ohio on his way back to Butler.

Walter wears a patchwork denim robe, an icon of the Virgin Mary and carries a staff topped with a cross. He begins each jour- ney penniless, relying on people’s kindness and the trust that his faith will sustain him.

Walter, 72, grew up near Pittsburgh and planned to be a diocesan priest. But after four years in minor seminary and four years at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., he didn’t feel ready. He said he “had all the knowledge,” but, his “heart was empty.” So, at age 29 in 1970, he took a freighter out of New Orleans, sailed to Spain, and journeyed, mostly by foot, to Jerusalem to retrace the steps of Jesus.

At the conclusion of that journey, he said his heart felt fulfilled and he adopted the mission of wandering the world, spreading the word of his faith while meeting people from all others.

When asked where he’s going in all his travels, he simply replies, “I’m going to heaven.”

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