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Idaho Falls couple following the footsteps of a saint

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - When Christina and Jason Batalden saw Notre Dame catch fire five years ago, their fear of missing out was suddenly justified.

"I remember feeling very upset that, my gosh, what if I've never seen it and now it's going to be gone? I mean, it's being rebuilt, but now I have this urgency that I've got to do things when I have the chance to do them, or I might not have the chance again," said Christina.

So the Idaho Falls couple took a 70-mile walk through the U.K., following the footsteps of a seventh-century bishop, Saint Cuthbert.

"This walk was essentially between two very ancient abbeys," said Jason. "Melrose, which is more inland, and then obviously the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which is way out in the North Sea."

This wasn't just a leisurely stroll. For these two Catholics, it was something of a pilgrimage.

"That's kind of what we brought into this with us," says Jason. "We had a lot of prayer requests, a lot of petitions by a lot of people, our friends and family."

Their prayer requests went into a backpack.

"It was very difficult for me, carrying the backpack," said Christina. "I thought about the burdens that these people were praying for. They wrote them on cards for us. And I thought of the burdens that they carry."

Burdens heavy enough to sink you into the marshy ground. After all, it was Scotland in March.

"But it is beautiful," says Christina. "And rainy."

"A lot of rain," added Jason. "And mud. MUD."

There was also an encounter with black adder snakes, and 19-mile treks between towns, but the trials also made the trip rewarding.

"The thing that stands out to me, especially, was, you know, at some point in the day, you got to the realization that the only thing you had to really think about was the next step," said Jason. "And that in and of itself was incredibly almost healing in a way. I don't know..."

"It's simplification," Christina finished.

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Stephanie Lucas


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