The death by suicide of Maris, his beloved wife of forty-two years, changed everything for Noel Braun. In his struggle to rediscover himself, he sought structure and meaning in the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago in the north-west of Spain. In 2010, at the age of seventy-seven, he undertook his first pilgrimage.
He soon found that one Camino was not enough. Noel had to keep seeking. His yearning was like an addiction or a contagion, a virus infection. What drew him back? It could have been the extraordinary scenery of France, Portugal and Spain, the challenge of endurance walking hundreds of kilometres, the call of many languages, the chance to delve into history and deeper meaning of the land he was traversing.
Perhaps, it was the call of the Spirit, luring him into the unknown where he had to rely on a strength greater than his own to persevere. Perhaps, it was the camaraderie, the chance to meet many people of different languages and cultures, to hear their stories and to form lifelong friendships.
Noel's passion did not abate. He had to keep walking. He continued his pilgrimage in 2011, 2013 and 2015. These explorations of the Camino are described in his earlier books The Day was Made for Walking and I Guess I'll Just Keep on Walking.
Keep Pressing On, Brother is his third book in a series of memoires detailing his Camino pilgrimage. The reader soon discovers there is far more to pilgrimage than simply visiting places. The physical and the spiritual blend with the ancient and the modern. What is truly remarkable about Noel's story told in these memoires is not just the deep spiritual journey at their heart but also the fact that Noel is well into his eighties.