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Making a Pilgrimage

Lion Hudson, 2009
RRP: $12.95

Review by Mel Perkins, Families Minister at Aspley Uniting Church

I loved this little book which is small and light enough to carry on a pilgrimage.
As the title suggests, Making a Pilgrimage is about preparing, going and coming back from a pilgrimage.
It is full of lots of little gems and reflections – snippets of the author’s own experiences with pilgrimages, historical information about pilgrimage (particularly during the Middle Ages when pilgrimage was very popular) and some information on how to ‘do’ pilgrimage well.
I admit I haven’t read any other books on pilgrimage, but growing up in the Roman Catholic tradition and being a lover of the Medieval period, I am quite familiar with the concept of pilgrimage and I believe this book tackles the subject well.
I particularly liked the way the author looked at why pilgrimages were and are taken, what to take and what to leave behind and some things to reflect on along the way.
Ms Welch’s intent is not so much about the end point (the goal) but what the journey is like and how a pilgrimage can be done in a way the provides growth.
The chapters are short and readable with reflections provided at the end of the chapter and sometimes during them.
These reflections provide opportunities for the pilgrim to reflect on the life they left behind and changes that are occurring within themselves along the way.
For the author such travel is sacred, no matter the method of travel or time available – even if the travel is done from the comfort of one’s own armchair.
Having made my own pilgrimage of sorts in March this year, I would have appreciated having Making a Pilgrimage in my backpack to help ground the experience.