The journey is essential to the dream.
— Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu (ca. 500 BCE)

Find your path, enter the forest, seek the Grail.
— King Arthur (12-13th century legend)

Pilgrimage is a spiritual practice for nearly every major religion of the world. For some pilgrimage means to journey to a place where holiness is apparent, or where some kind of divine and human encounter took place. Some describe the experience as a search for spiritual depth or moral significance, while others search for a path towards freedom. Some pilgrims are directed towards specific destinations, such as a dwelling place of a saint, or a holy place that evokes prayer and reflection. The passage may be symbolic of the journey of a soul to God, and primarily an internal experience of alternative sacred geography. Others describe pilgrimage as a threshold experience that points to a new reality. Pilgrimage is so common to human experience that the practice has recently been proposed as a new Jungian archetype.

Pilgrimage transcends religious, national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. This e-course will explore the many dimensions of pilgrimages as a spiritual practice and offer resources to aid those called to the journey today. We will look specifically at the value of pilgrimages in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and psychology.

"Pilgrimage as a Journey of the Heart" has twelve sessions that you can schedule to receive at a pace that you choose. They will introduce you to different ways to reflect on pilgrimage, offer spiritual practices to try, and help you develop an awareness and appreciation of how pilgrimage is part of your own life. The course includes the following:

  • 12 detailed e-mails with background information, quotations, illustrations, and suggestions for additional resources;
  • Selected spiritual practices related to pilgrimage for inspiration and reflection;
  • A recording of a one-hour teleconference with retreat leader Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook that was held on May 16, 2018 during the original run of this course.
  • An opportunity to keep a journal in which you record your reflections, questions, and experiences with each session.

Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook, an Episcopal priest, is vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty, and professor of practical theology at Claremont School of Theology, and professor of Anglican studies at Bloy House, the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont, California. Her award-winning book, Pilgrimage — The Sacred Art: Journey to the Center of the Heart (Skylight Paths, 2013) was named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2013 by Spirituality & Practice. Kujawa-Holbrook speaks widely on pilgrimage. Among her other recent books are: Hildegard of Bingen. Essential Writings and Chants of a Christian Mystic — Annotated and Explained (Skylight Paths, 2016) and God Beyond Borders: Interreligious Learning Among Congregations (Pickwick, 2014).

This e-course is open to all — those who are anticipating pilgrimage, as well as those who have returned from a journey. For some the journey may be physical and involve travel; for others, it may be a pilgrimage of personal transformation or a journey to the center of the heart. We are all, at some time or another, pilgrims in this life.

4 CEHs for chaplains available.

Available On-Demand
(choose your own start date and frequency)


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