|Shells have been used by humans in many forms for millennium: as currency, tools, vessels, scrapers, blades, boat bailing and oil lamps. In particular, scallop shells are a symbol of St. James the Great, who left his work by the seashore to follow Jesus Christ as one of his first apostles. He carried a scallop shell with him as he traveled – asking people along the way to fill his shell with food or drink – only taking what was needed to continue his journey. In this way, scallop shells began to symbolize pilgrimages in general.
That intricate shell you find largely intact as you stroll the beach has had an incredible journey from thousands of miles away – tossed and turned by the seas of life. It presents itself to us as a symbol of hope: hope that the tiniest and most delicate of us can also survive life’s storms and stay intact for another day.
We are on a pilgrimage now and will take all the nourishment – mind, body and spirit – that is offered to us.