A site dedicated to the trek to Marylake Monastery in May and October

Welcome

Here, you will find photos, text and videos having to do with the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Grace Monastery located in King City, Toronto, Canada. Photos are all credited to their respective photographers. For any and all questions, feel free to contact this website's admin at d.faria@live.com

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Marylake Walk – October 2019

This year, I had the opportunity to visit Fatima while on my three-week-long vacation to the motherland.  It was not the first time I walked along the enormous property alongside my family. However, it was the first time I visited with my fiancee. It was interesting to view Fatima through his eyes as he is not Catholic. He asked many questions, some which I was able to answer and others I had not thought of myself. We visited the new church, awed by its grandeur and the way Jesus seems to grow in size the closer you walk to the altar. I told him about the story of the three children who witnessed our Lady over the oak tree, still standing today. We were floored by the old church’s size on both the main and basement level. Finally, we paid our respects to the graves of the trez Pastorinos: Francisco, Lucia, and Jacinta.

As I think about the trek thousands of people take either to walk to Fatima, Santiago de Compostela, or even Marylake here in Ontario, I’m reminded of the reason behind these walks. Some walk because they made a promise to God. Others walk in hopes of helping a loved one through a tough time. Whatever the reason, we’re all connected in hope and faith.

This year’s October Walk (verified by St. John Bosco Church in Toronto, Ontario), is:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

If you wish to walk in a group, I’ve been told there is a group leaving at Dufferin Mall around 5:00am that morning (no exact location). Further, there is a walk starting at St. David’s in Maple at 7:00am. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at d.faria@live.com. Best of luck.

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Marylake Walk – May 2019

Hi all! As we finally brush off another Winter (thankfully not as rough as other Winters), it’s time to prepare ourselves for the Marylake walk of May 2018.

There has been some back-and-forth regarding the Marylake May dates in the Catholic communities (at least where I frequent). There were rumours that the walk would no longer be held on Mother’s Day long weekend, or that it would be a hard and fast date every single year. I’ve even been told that there are rumours saying the Marylake walk in May is to be canceled and only the October one would continue (which sounds silly, seeing as Mother’s Day is so important in regards to religious affairs).

EDITED: I have been contacted by St. John Bosco church! It has been verified that the walk to MaryLake will be on:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

This year, I will forgo walking to the shrine. Instead, I will be giving out food, water, and hot drinks for those who are on the trek. Please don’t be shy: pass by and have a bite to eat before you continue on your journey!

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an e-mail at d.faria@live.com. Be safe and happy travels!

Marylake Walk – October 2018

Hello all! This October’s walk will be on:

Saturday October 6th, 2018

Usually the walk falls on (or the day closest to) the 13th of the month. However, this years will be a week earlier on October 6th. This has been verified by several Toronto Portuguese churches who are involved in the walk.

I won’t be making the walk this year, however I will be doing something I have yet to do: hand out food and drink! Every year I walk, I am so thankful for the generosity of others who hand out supplies to walkers no matter the weather. I have told myself multiple times that whenever I do not walk, I would like to be helping out in another way. My mom and I finally agreed to make this year the year we do it!

If you see a dark-colored Forester on the way up Keele street, please help yourself to food and drink. While the “menu” is not entirely planned out yet, we will be handing out water, juice, some baked goods and sandwiches with a variety of ham and cheeses. Don’t be shy – we are here to help you on your journey to the Shrine!

If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email at d.faria@live.com. Safe travels!

Marylake Walk – May 2018

This year’s May walk to Our Lady of Grace Monastery  will be on:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Good news: Marylake now has an official website! The website offers plenty of information regarding services, events and provides information regarding the shrine itself. While the website does not specifically talk about the semi-yearly Marylake Walk, it does offer lots of other information which is helpful should you wish to know more about Our Lady of Grace monastery.

Should you have any questions about the walk, feel free to e-mail d.faria@live.com and I will do my best to answer. Take care and best of luck!

 

Marylake Walk – October 2017

Hi all,

Today’s post will be short, sweet and to the point. This October 2017’s walk will be on:

Saturday, October 7, 2017

 

This information has been verified by St.Mathew’s Parish in Toronto, Ontario for accuracy.  Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at d.faria@live.com. Cheers and good luck!

 

Marylake Walk- May 2017

The May Marylake walk is generally the Saturday nearest to May 13th. This year’, May 13th falls on a Saturday and thus, the May 2017 walk will be on:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I’ve written some posts about how to prepare for the walk and how to take care of yourself after the walk, but one thing I haven’t delved too much into is the walk itself and how it makes me (personally) feel. So I’ll take a few minutes of your time to really describe what going on this trek means to me.


Waking up before dawn is not fun. Putting Nivea on your face to prepare for windburn kind of sucks and bundling up when you’re barely awake isn’t my favourite way to start a weekend. Having said that, I willingly make the journey from Toronto to King City with my mother because I want to – and she does too.

I’m wide awake after the first couple of hours, which is generally when the sun begins to rise. Although I’m not entirely sure where I am when the sun begins its ascent, it is always a welcoming sight when the blackness slowly transforms into navy, the stars dimming and finally disappearing.

Half way in, my fingers are swollen. Conversation between my mother and I slowly decreases, as we want to keep our breathing as even as possible (believe it or not, brisk walking and talking equals being tired out alot faster….and no, we are not gym-swearing women so that may be half the reason- nevertheless!)

Three quarters into the walk (around Keele and Major Mackenzie) is where the trek really takes its tole. My back hurts, my thighs are on fire and my feet want nothing more than to be free of their infernal casings. Approximatley an hour after we cross Major Mackenzie until we reach the shrine is probably the worst hours of my self-doubt (as far as the walk goes, anyway). This is where I keep thinking “Why on earth do I keep doing this walk? I am in so much pain, I don’t think I can do this. I am absolutely insane to do this twice a year.”

At this point, my headphones are in my ears, my mom and I are side-by-side and we both no longer tell our legs to walk. They just….go.  We’re both in pain but still determined.

The walk from the welcoming gate to the shrine itself is also an experience in and of itself. The road is small, (two cars cannot comfortably pass beside one another without slowing down to 5 km/h) there are lots of people walking to the shrine, plus the road is twisty….and hilly. Your thighs will scream in protest when you climb that final high hill from the end of the road to the church, but the satisfaction of having made it is well worth it.

Finally, my favourite part: the church. Opening the doors, you’ll first be hit with the waft of slow-burning candles. The shrine is homely and inviting, warmed by both the candles and the sunlight spilling through the church’s blue stained glass windows. The entire church is quiet, but not silent: there are some people talking quietly in one corner, another few whispering. Generally, my mother and I purchase a candle or two, light it and place it next to the image of Mother Mary, say a prayer infront of her and sit in one of the chairs behind us.

There, we say a few more prayers and then sit in silent appreciation.  It’s the part I look forward to the most. The shrine is serene and beautiful. Full of life, yet quiet and respectful. Those who wish to pray can and those who wish to sit, rest and just be happy with themselves and what they have accomplished can and may do so at their leisure. There is no judgement on what you wear, what you look or what you do. It’s my favourite part whenever I am in any church as a matter of fact because it’s one of the few places I can be alone with my thoughts in an inviting environment. It may not be much to some, but it is beautiful and pure to me….

Perhaps that feeling is what I am after when I begin the walk. It is a tough walk and is ever more difficult if the elements are against you (too hot, too cold, rains, etc), but I know the reward is worth it. I know that at the end of that trek, there is happiness. At the end of that road, there is something true that will always be there: a reward that I am guaranteed to have if I just fight through these 8-10 hours for it. Maybe it is the absence of that certainty in life that makes me appreciate this walk as much as I do. Where life is wavering and intimidating with no assured prize at the end of the tunnel, this walk will always deliver. Even if I fight tooth and nail, scrounge every ounce of strength, give everything I am to give myself a good life… it is not a guarantee. I may fail- hell, I will probably fail. I have failed before and I’m sure I will fail again. It’s hard to put your gloves back on and fight another round against life’s obstacles when the hand you may be dealt at the end is a dud.

Walking to Marylake, there is pain. You suffer walking through the thick of rain, soaked with sweat from the inside and wet with the cold rain on the outside. But you know everything will be alright on the other side. Those eight, nine, even ten hours of struggling through with the wind against you and self-doubt in your mind is worth it… Just  for a few minutes of absolute, guaranteed serenity. Just to find those few moments where everything you fought for has yielded a reward, and you love this reward. This reward is valuable in my mind and was worth those hours of walking. It’s worth it – it’s still worth it to me.


As always, please e-mail me should you have any questions and safe travels!

MaryLake Walk – October 2016

Normally, the date for the October walk is determined by when October the 13th falls – usually the walk is the Saturday before the 13th, no matter when the 13th falls in the week. Thus, this October’s walk will be on:

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

This time around, I have a few tips as to what you should pack in your backpack for the trek. I’ve seen many types of bags being lugged around for the trek but the most popular that I have seen (and love to use) is a basic shoestring bag. It’s extremely lightweight, most are waterproof and you won’t carry much things, so the size is ideal.

1. Cash

There are a lot more independent bakeries, Tim Hortons and gas stations up Keele street which are easily accessible should you need a snack and/or need to use the washroom (which are mostly reserved for customers only, aka buy something small). While most accept debit/credit, always be on the safe side and carry some cash with you.

2. Water bottle

A small one. Believe it or not, I almost never finish an entire bottle of water by the time I reach the shrine simply because I do not want to stop to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours. This doesn’t mean I starve my body of liquids (I usually stop at a Tim Hortons twice en route), but buying something small and drinking it then and now is easier than lugging around a bunch of water bottles.

3. Small Snacks

A hard fruit that doesn’t get bruised (such as an apple) or a small granola bar is great for when you’re walking and there’s no place to stop for a quick bite. They’ll fuel you and won’t weigh too much.

4. Rain jacket

During the May 2016 walk, it drizzled 90 % of the time and these dollar store rain jackets were a lifesaver. You won’t want to hold onto an umbrella for hours, plus they come with hoodies and ensure you don’t get soaked! Truly invaluable (bonus: light!).

5. Bandages

You’ll more than likely develop some blisters on your walk so when you’re halfway there and you feel one grow, quickly take your shoe and sock off and bandage it up quickly. The more time your shoes are out of your socks, the faster they will swell up and they will hurt to walk.

6. Extra socks

Maybe two pairs if you expect rain! One to change into while on the trek and another comfier pair to change into when you get to the shrine. If you have someone to pick you up, have them bring a pair of comfy slippers so you can get into those fresh socks, slippers and head home comfortably.

7. Phone + music device

Whether its your iPod or some other mp3 player, its always a good idea to bring it with you, plus a pair of headphones. My mom and I do have conversations whilst walking to Marylake, but we find it beneficial to simply be in our own zone when we’re getting tired. More talking ends up to using more energy and catching our breath to talk for long periods, so to make it easier on ourselves we try to talk only when we have to. Music also helps take your mind off the walk!

That’s all for this time around! As always, stay safe and happy travels.

Diana Faria

Diana Faria