Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 04 August |
Saint of the Day: St. John Vianney
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pilgrims – and llamas – meet Francis in Rome



Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/13/18

"Llama-geddon" at the Vatican!

After a 49-day pilgrimage, three men and their trusty llamas made it to Rome this week, where they had the chance to come face-to-face with Pope Francis at Wednesday’s general audience.

Walter Mair and two of his friends traveled 650 miles on foot with three of Mair’s llamas from the Kaserhof alpaca and llama farm in Italy’s German-speaking South Tyrol province, close to the border with Austria. The llamas, named Buffon, Shaqiri (for two famous soccer players) and Tiento, made quite a stir at the audience. The Holy Father greeted the pilgrims (and the llamas) before he gave his address on baptism.

Naturally, the pilgrims gave Peter’s Successor a gift: Socks made of llama wool.


Read more:
Pope: Why baptize babies and not wait for them to be adults and choose for themselves?

The pilgrims and their animals followed the Via Romea Germanica, a medieval pilgrimage route that starts in Germany and winds through Austria and Italy to Rome.

The 180 animals of the Kaserhof make it the largest llama and alpaca farm in Italy. Llamas are of course typical in the pope’s native Argentina.

“I had been thinking of a pilgrimage for about 15 years and then Pope Francis, an Argentine, was elected,” Mair said, according to the Telegraph. The election of the pope was the catalyst that finally made Mair and his friends undertake the pilgrim journey.

“We were greeted with hospitality and a welcoming spirit,” Mair said. “We were invited to stay at a number of monasteries on the route and also on private farms. The llamas need to graze and rest.”

The journey was documented on Facebook.


Read more:
Camino in a wheelchair: Two best friends on a 500-mile spiritual pilgrimage

Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.