Exploring Pilgrimage Essay

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Exploring Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage is a journey to sacred places that are inspired by religious devotion. The place that is visited is usually where events have happened in the past that are relevant or important to what the pilgrim believes. Pilgrimage is an ancient custom which has changed over many years. It used to be a long and dangerous journey, but now many treat it like a holiday. A very early example of a pilgrim was Hsüan Tsang, a 7th century Chinese Buddhist; he travelled 65,000 km/ 40,000 mi during his 16 year pilgrimage through India and China. Here is a picture of Hsüan Tsang, returning home from India:


Another old pilgrimage tradition which happened in the 1400’s was a
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It is said that Mary told Bernadette to find a spring. She did and in 1862 it was declared by the pope that the underground spring had miraculous healing qualities. Since then Lourdes has become one of the most popular pilgrimage centres for Christians. There have been numerous claims of cures of bodily ailments at Lourdes, some of which have been pronounced miraculous by the ecclesiastical authorities. A medical bureau, the Bureau des Constatations Médicales, examines people who claim to have been cured. It consists of a permanent president and a panel of other doctors (of any nationality or religious persuasion) who happen to be in Lourdes and who have registered their names with the bureau.

Almost three million people visit Lourdes every year. Some reasons why pilgrims go are; for spiritual discipline. Pilgrimage is an act of prayer and devotion, something undertaken for God. Many go to increase their faith. They visit the scenes of events that are part of their spiritual life. Some go to allow those events to become more real to them. As they see the places where these things happened, they feel they can picture them more clearly. They feel closer to God during their pilgrimage. Many go just for the simple experience of being a pilgrim. For a day, or for a few days, they can concentrate on their faith in a happy relaxed way. Lots go for the sense of being
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