Bilocation, Chocolate, and the Patron Saint of Pilgrims: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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Pilgrim Pop Quiz: What's the oldest Christian pilgrimage shrine in Europe? Hint: It's associated with St James (Santiago, as they call him in Spain), but it's not the one from that movie with Charlie Sheen's dad. It's in Zaragoza, where the ancient and the thoroughly post-modern meet for tapas, and neither one blinks.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 7: Madrid to ZaragozaWhen you say Spain, Santiago, and pilgrimage, everybody thinks Compostela, the purported resting place of St James the Greater, … [Read more...]

Playing Dress-up: The NYT Womanpriests Fashion Spread

 I used to advocate for women's ordination in the Catholic Church---but never because I thought we needed more supermodels on the vestment runway. A curious slideshow featured in yesterday's New York Times Review section (H/T to Katrina Fernandez) makes me saddened and bemused enough to break off from the pilgrimage posts for a minute.Entitled Women as Priests, the slideshow by photographer Judith Levitt profiles 10 women---all white, all of a certain age---who profess to be … [Read more...]

Picturing the Destination: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

Tears in the eyes of Mary of Clopas (van der Weyden, Deposition, detail)

 On the walls of a museum, we come face-to-face with two views of life. Both have the power to shake us to our roots. Both look like madness. And both are roadmaps of the human journey. But only one is true, and you can tell it by the tears.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 6: Madrid[A note to the patient pilgrims: After wrestling with jetlag and some personal baggage---not the kind subject to customs inspections, but carried with me on the pilgrimage no less, and seriously over the … [Read more...]

The Road It Gives and the Road It Takes Away: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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Not every encounter on the pilgrim path is with Christ and his saints. Not every experience is a mystical insight. Not everything you learn has spiritual significance. But it's all part of the road.It's worth taking a breather to note some of the things we've learned and experienced and encountered on this pilgrimage. They weren't necessarily on the agenda, but they'll stay with us at least as long as the dates of the Spanish Reconquest or the number of dining rooms in the Royal Palace of … [Read more...]

Castles in Spain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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To build castles in Spain is an 800-year-old idiom meaning to daydream, to indulge in idle fancies. But we spent a day with Teresa of Avila, who built an interior castle in Spain as solid and lasting a fortification as the walls that circle the city of her birth.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 5: Salamanca to Madrid, via Alba de Tormes, Avila, and SegoviaSpain's an odd place. It looks golden and sunny, with yellow plains stretching out under bright blue skies as far as the eye can see, but the soul … [Read more...]

Finding the Frog: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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In which we learn that pilgrimage cultivates a different way of seeing: We come to honor visionaries, and are expected to come away visionaries ourselves.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 4: Fatima to Salamanca, Spain, by way of Coimbra, PortugalI've gotten behind in posting, due to a combination of the exhaustion that accompanies cramming so many powerful experiences into each day and the instability of network connections. The downside is that you're probably wondering whether, like that Italian … [Read more...]

The Peace of the World: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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"Tell everybody that God gives His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from her, . . . for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her." ~ A message from the Lady of Fatima, according to Lucia Pilgrimage 2012, Day 3: FatimaWe pilgrims spent yesterday in Fatima. In the early morning, a tour of the Sanctuary, the huge devotional complex that encompasses the Chapel of the Apparitions on the site where the Lady most often appeared to the three … [Read more...]

Floating Martyrs, Desperate Housewives, and What Really Matters: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

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On the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, we venerated a miracle wrought by desperation, and experienced one of our own.Saturday, September 15: Lisbon to Fatima by way of SantaremLanding in Lisbon after our mad scramble through the 9 circles of Charles de Hell Airport yesterday, we met our guides Guida (her name means Guide, so she is Guida Our Guida) and Francoise and boarded our buses. We are a two-bus pilgrimage (the Red and the Blue; I'm on Blue, with Guida) with this many people. All we … [Read more...]


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