Ever since the Magi trekked from the East to witness the birth of Jesus, pilgrims have undertaken long and often dangerous journeys to seek out holy Christian places. Sacred Tracks tells the two-thousand-year-old story of Christian pilgrimage and the saints and pilgrims, shrines and cathedrals, relics and practices of a tradition that is still flourishing today.
Drawing on contemporary accounts and a wealth of illustration, Sacred Tracks captures the atmosphere of pilgrimage through the ages. Divided into three sections--"Early Paths," "Medieval Roads," and "Modern Ways"--the book describes every aspect of pilgrimage past and present, from the practicalities of setting out to the difficult conditions of travel, to the great sites, such as Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela, and Canterbury. The book looks at the pilgrims themselves, from St. Brendan, who is said to have cast himself adrift, letting God guide his search for a paradisal holy island, to the penitents, cure seekers, and adventurers who in the Middle Ages set out for the unknown in their millions.
In recent times pilgrimage has recaptured the popular imagination. For the increasing numbers who each year follow in the footsteps of their medieval forbears, Sacred Tracks describes the popular places of contemporary pilgrimage, such as Lourdes, Fatima, Walsingham, and Knock. Seven new and revived pilgrimages are described in detail, while a gazetteer provides information about a further seven in Europe, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Entertaining, colorful, and informative, this book is both a fascinating history of Christian pilgrimage and the perfect traveling companion for the pilgrim of today.