A pilgrimage is a journey that has religious or spiritual significance. The journey is usually taken to an important religious place. There are many sites of Christian pilgrimage, including some mentioned in Bible stories about Jesus’ life, such as Jerusalem. A person travelling on a pilgrimage is referred to as a pilgrim.
Pilgrimage is not compulsory in Christianity, but many Christians choose to undertake journeys to holy sites to:
Taizé is a small village in France that is home to an ecumenical community of one hundred Catholic and Protestant monks from around the world. They are devoted to the idea of peace through meditation, silence and prayer. Ecumenism is key to Taizé’s appeal, and it attracts people from many different cultures and traditions.
Tragically, Brother Roger, who founded the community, died in 2005 at the age of 90 after being stabbed during a prayer service. However, his mission lives on and Taizé continues to be one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with tens of thousands of young pilgrims visiting every year.
At Taizé, young people:
Walsingham is a village in Norfolk, England. It is important for Christian pilgrims because it is believed to be the site of an important vision of the Virgin Mary, also known as Our Lady.
In 1061, a Saxon noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, is said to have had a vision of Mary. She claimed that Mary took her to her house in Nazareth, the site where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. Mary asked Richeldis to build an exact copy of this house in Walsingham.
The copy is called the Holy House, and it is inside St Mary’s Church at Walsingham. In the church there is a statue of Mary, called Our Lady of Walsingham, above the altar. Therefore, the site is also known as the Nazareth of England, and it has been visited by pilgrims for centuries. Every year there is a national pilgrimage to Walsingham on the spring bank holiday (in late May), which attracts Christians from all over the UK and around the world.
Which holy person is believed to have appeared in Walsingham?
Mary, the mother of Jesus (also called Our Lady or the Virgin Mary).