Fellow Organizes Pilgrimage for Healing and Liberation

Author: Medieval Institute

Medieval Institute Public Humanities Fellow Annie Killian, Ph.D., has organized a series of spring-semester events exploring the practice of pilgrimage, both historically across faith traditions and in present-day work for social justice. These events bring together the collective efforts of the Medieval Institute, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement of Religions, the Notre Dame Initiative for Race and Resilience, the Program of Liberal Studies, and the departments of Theology and Africana Studies.

Join us for this new series, Pilgrimage for Healing and Liberation, which will take us from the deep past to the present day to discover what the practice of pilgrimage offered our ancestors and why it remains attractive to so many today.

Every year millions of people visit the holy sites of Jerusalem, Mecca, and Mount Wutai. More than tourists, these travelers are pilgrims making intentional journeys to the sacred places of their religious tradition. Pilgrimage is a practice both ancient and trendy. In recent years, we’ve seen members of the faithful and the religiously unaffiliated alike walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain and travel to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. Amazingly, pilgrims have traversed these routes for centuries. That they keep coming attests to a deeply human desire for encounter with the divine.

The embodied act of making a pilgrimage was meant to catalyze spiritual movement and growth. Pilgrims seek to be changed by their experience. That may be why pilgrimage is currently being used in work for racial justice and healing. The journey both symbolizes and realizes the transformation necessary for us to become the beloved community.

Four webinars will explore the following topics (all webinars will remain available on our Pilgrimage page):

  • January 27, 2023: Pilgrimage in the Global Middles Ages: Hospitality and Encounter
  • February 10, 2023: Becoming a Pilgrim People
  • March 3, 2023: Sacred Art and the Journey Toward Justice
  • March 24, 2023: The Black Madonna for Racial Liberation

These conversations will prepare a group of students and community members to make an actual pilgrimage to Chicago to pray for the canonization of Venerable Augustus Tolton (1854-97), the first Black Catholic priest to be ordained for the United States. Fr. Tolton is one of the six African-American candidates for sainthood. 

We invite you to register for the series and join us on the way.