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Modern Pilgrims, Ancient Calling - a Panel Conversation

Mony Dojeiji

Pilgrim. Rome to Jerusalem.
Year of past OR future Camino
2001
What does it mean to be a pilgrim?

This was the topic of discussion at this year's Canadian Company of Pilgrims AGM.

I had the honour of facilitating and being part of a panel discussion with George Greenia (Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Institute of Pilgrimage Studies at William & Mary) and Matthew Anderson (Professor and Pilgrimage Scholar at Concordia University). We each brought a perspective that we hope enriches and expands our ideas of what it means to be a pilgrim today.

https://youtu.be/HoveQpS2TMI

I hope you enjoy it.

Buen camino to you all,
Mony
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017); Camino a Muxia (2017)
What does it mean to be a pilgrim?

This was the topic of discussion at this year's Canadian Company of Pilgrims AGM.

I had the honour of facilitating and being part of a panel discussion with George Greenia (Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Institute of Pilgrimage Studies at William & Mary) and Matthew Anderson (Professor and Pilgrimage Scholar at Concordia University). We each brought a perspective that we hope enriches and expands our ideas of what it means to be a pilgrim today.


I hope you enjoy it.

Buen camino to you all,
Mony
Mony,
I enjoyed the discussion between the three of you and was particularly struck by the analogy of Dorothy as a pilgrim and that she didn't reach the Emerald City on her own; she was accompanied by a ragtag group of fellow travelers/pilgrims each in search of something they thought was uniquely missing in their lives.

I was also interested in the idea of pilgrimage reversing the order of who serves and who is served; that a pilgrim steps into a role of accepting help from others, of allowing others to give, of becoming vulnerable. In this sense pilgrims enable others to become "pilgrim angels," and later, along the way, pilgrims once on the receiving end of kindness find themselves in a position to reciprocate.

The same day I found your discussion I heard an interview with Rick Steves on the topic of travel as a spiritual act, a riff on his book, Travel as a Political Act. See the link below.


During the discussion, Rick identified three reasons why we travel, or three types of travel:
1. the tourist who travels for fun, to do fun things.
2. the traveler who travels to learn about another culture or historical events; to gain an appreciation for others.
3. the pilgrim who travels with the intent of learning about self from a distance in a different environment; to find answers to the age old questions where did we come from, why are we here, and where will we go.

It should be obvious to all that these categories aren't hard and fast. A tourist in a foreign country may learn something about its culture that they begin to appreciate it to the extent they become a "traveler." And, as a further development, that same individual may in turn discover something about his or herself such that they reconsider what makes them who are. In this case we have the making of an "accidental pilgrim."

Discussions about what it means to be a pilgrim and what is pilgrimage seldom settle on fixed responses and, like many things in life, the discussions reveal the rich breadth and depth of the many notions people have, and that they wouldn't be wrong.

Buen Camino.
Howard
 

Mony Dojeiji

Pilgrim. Rome to Jerusalem.
Year of past OR future Camino
2001
Mony,
I enjoyed the discussion between the three of you and was particularly struck by the analogy of Dorothy as a pilgrim and that she didn't reach the Emerald City on her own; she was accompanied by a ragtag group of fellow travelers/pilgrims each in search of something they thought was uniquely missing in their lives.

I was also interested in the idea of pilgrimage reversing the order of who serves and who is served; that a pilgrim steps into a role of accepting help from others, of allowing others to give, of becoming vulnerable. In this sense pilgrims enable others to become "pilgrim angels," and later, along the way, pilgrims once on the receiving end of kindness find themselves in a position to reciprocate.

The same day I found your discussion I heard an interview with Rick Steves on the topic of travel as a spiritual act, a riff on his book, Travel as a Political Act. See the link below.


During the discussion, Rick identified three reasons why we travel, or three types of travel:
1. the tourist who travels for fun, to do fun things.
2. the traveler who travels to learn about another culture or historical events; to gain an appreciation for others.
3. the pilgrim who travels with the intent of learning about self from a distance in a different environment; to find answers to the age old questions where did we come from, why are we here, and where will we go.

It should be obvious to all that these categories aren't hard and fast. A tourist in a foreign country may learn something about its culture that they begin to appreciate it to the extent they become a "traveler." And, as a further development, that same individual may in turn discover something about his or herself such that they reconsider what makes them who are. In this case we have the making of an "accidental pilgrim."

Discussions about what it means to be a pilgrim and what is pilgrimage seldom settle on fixed responses and, like many things in life, the discussions reveal the rich breadth and depth of the many notions people have, and that they wouldn't be wrong.

Buen Camino.
Howard
This is brilliant, Howard (@hfenton). Thank you for taking the time to watch our conversation and to share your reflections. As you so wisely point out, there are no fixed responses to what it means to be a pilgrim. There are no hard and fast rules, or even categories. We are all enriched when we keep our minds and hearts open, free of judgements and expectations, walking the path that is laid out for us and sharing all that it inspires in us.

Thank you again, and buen camino!
Mony
 

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