On 12 July a Breton family travelling from French Briançon arrived in Vercelli with their seven children: a team ranging from 8-month-old Maria up to 12-year-old Flavia, the eldest.
"It was an enormous pleasure to welcome this family" says Mr. Valmer Buosi from the Vercelli Friends of the Via Francigena association and a volunteer at the Hospitale Sancti Eusebi Hostel, where the family spent the night.
“I was deeply impressed by the courage of the parents who decided to travel with all their children, an adventure that seems already challenging in normal times and is even more difficult due to the pandemic. That is an example of a deep faith and a great spirit of collaboration, also visible in children. Especially the older ones have shown a great sense of responsibility and were working hard to help the parents in the daily activities".
The group still has more than a month of travel ahead: hundreds of kilometres separate them from Rome, the target of their journey.
How does such a big family move with young children? Dino Olivetta, Head of the Hospital tells us: "They are equipped with two carts,"- as their mother called them – “in which the little ones can be pushed by their parents as if they were in big strollers and the youngest is carried in a baby carrier. The rest of them walk with their parents, making about twenty kilometres a day."
Vercelli hostel is used to welcome unusual guests: last year they accommodated a family, also from Brittany, made up of mom and dad (a couple of doctors on leave from work), three children and two donkeys. In that case, the reception was quite a challenge, as the volunteers had to find space for the animals.
Nowadays the volunteers have done everything possible to organize overnight stays for the next stages of the De Camburg family, a decidedly not easy operation: “This year, due to the health situation, it is difficult to find sleeping places at times, even for individuals pilgrims. Nine is very complex, "said Olivetta.
We wish an amazing journey for this family which testifies great faith, a spirit of adaptation and love for the pilgrimage.