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Pilgrimage of Monks

(1,673 words)

Author(s): Stella A. Singer
The vexed relationship between monasticism and pilgrimage conceals the common roots of these institutions in the ascetic practices of the Desert Fathers; both pilgrimage and monasticism were inspired by a profound sense of existential estrangement. Peregrinatio was initially imagined as a state of existential alienation that specified only departure from one's homeland ( ex patria); it was only later that the phenomenon of pilgrimage became associated with arrival at particular shrines ( ad loca sancta). Monasticism, like peregrinatio, was envisioned according to an idea…

Satiric or Parodic Views of Pilgrimage

(1,722 words)

Author(s): Stella A. Singer
Pilgrimage was primarily understood as a penitential practice: motivated by contrition, it was supposed to follow confession. Motivation, however, might be mixed (see also Motivations for Pilgrimage). Geoffrey Chaucer, amongst other authors, recognized this ambiguity of intent. Chaucer's concern with "entente" throughout The Canterbury Tales reflects suspicion about pilgrims' motivations - which could respond to commercial and recreational opportunities provided by pilgrimage rather than to a truly penitential impulse. The dubious reputat…