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From Lisbon to Santiago: Father Karer set off

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From Lisbon to Santiago: Father Karer set off

Having just recently retired, the former director of the Dachsberg high school, Ferdinand Karer, set out on his journey in autumn 2023. On his third pilgrimage, the Father of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales 745 kilometers from Portugal’s capital Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela, the end point of the Way of St. James in Spain. He has recorded his impressions, encounters and thoughts in his 192-page book “trittWeise”, which he will present for the first time on Friday in the chapel of the Dachsberg high school (for further dates see the information box on the right).

“Compared to my other pilgrimages, the journey was more strenuous. At the beginning, the body didn’t quite cooperate as much as the spirit wanted,” says Karer in an interview with OÖNachrichten. The thoughts while walking were strongly influenced by the past years as headmaster. “There was sadness, if I may say so, but it was also a nice look back on my time as director and the little everyday encounters at school,” says Karer, who ran the Dachsberg high school for 22 years. The book is both a travel report and a reflection book with spiritual impulses and questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives.

Mostly along the coast

Karer was particularly impressed by the paths along the Atlantic coast with breathtaking cliffs and stretches of beach. “I particularly enjoy the steps in the water. Somehow we, the Atlantic and I, have built up an intense relationship in the last few weeks. So we walk this path together. I’m bothered, and it’s just there in its size, loudly for once “, sometimes quietly, sometimes foaming, sometimes whispering…” writes Karer in his book.

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He symbolically takes the entire school community with him on his pilgrimage and looks back with great gratitude on many formative encounters as he goes. When he arrived in Santiago, he fished out of the bottom of his backpack a T-shirt with all the signatures of Dachsberg’s students, teachers and employees, which he received as a farewell. Karer writes: “And somehow everyone who signed it was on the way. The shirt is relatively tattered, but it’s the only piece of clothing that doesn’t smell like a pilgrimage. A pleasant smell emanates from the shirt and I get up again the square in front of the cathedral. There are two young ladies sitting there who I ask if they can take a few photos of my shirt, the cathedral and me. They are two women from the Allgäu, so I don’t have to bother with my poor English, and after that In the photo session I tell them what the T-shirt means to me. School was my life for many years.”

In addition to the preparations for his book presentations, Father Karer is currently also supporting the planning for the musical’s own production “White as Snow”, which premieres on March 9th at the Dachsberg High School.


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Michaela Krenn-Aichinger

Local editor Wels

Michaela Krenn-Aichinger

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