What is a pilgrimage? It is a meaningful journey with a sacred purpose. There are traditional pilgrimage routes, newer routes, or you can choose your own. This is definitely a time when the journey is as important as the arrival.
A spiritual pilgrimage is taken with prayer, thoughtfulness and purpose, whether walking alone or with others, in stages or a shorter one all at once.
Have a daily focus for your pilgrimage (these are just a few examples):
- meditate on a Bible passage
- think about your own “mission statement” in life
- focus on letting go and opening to God and your surroundings
- pause periodically to reflect on what you have seen/felt/imagined/been inspired by
- focus on some aspect of your life–spiritual, physical, relational, emotional–as you walk
A Pilgrimage can be near or far. Here are some ideas to get you started:
The Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago A quieter, more rural Camino walk, with fewer people. A link to an article about this Way: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/mar/02/walking-portuguese-camino-way-northern-portugal?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
St. Cuthbert’s Way A pilgrimage way in the northeast of England ending on Holy Island or Lindisfarne, the place where St. Cuthbert established a community. There is an entire website dedicated to this Way, with a variety of routes, long and short outlined: http://www.stcuthbertsway.info
The British Pilgrimage Trust There are many holy places in Britain and this site is an excellent introduction to these. One is called The Old Way, a pilgrimage from Southampton to Canterbury based on a 1360 map. Canterbury was the most important place of pilgrimage in Britain for many years. https://britishpilgrimage.org
Sacred Sites There is even a website showing sacred sites all around the world (sacredsites.com). You can find sacred sites not far from home. In Quebec is Ste Anne-de-Beaupre, a long standing pilgrimage destination. In Fall River Nova Scotia you will find Soldier Mountain. There are the Peterborough Petroglyphs or the Martyrs Shrine in Midland, Ontario. This site covers sites sacred to many faiths and peoples. For Canadian sites see: https://sacredsites.com/americas/canada/index.html
Or think about a place that is of special meaning to you or your family and plan a time of pilgrimage there. It might be your original home, a special place from childhood, a sacred place you have always wanted to visit, like the Vancouver Island Rainforest Trail or the route of the Underground Railroad.
A pilgrimage can be an experience of spiritual renewal, transformation, and/or awakening.