A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith
Timothy Egan serves as a host, inviting readers to join his Pilgrimage to Eternity. As such, it is a memorable series of revelations. Raised a Catholic, his mission is to explore the strength of his personal faith, traveling twelve hundred miles from Canterbury to Rome on the Via Francigena, a pilgrimage similar yet distinct from the trail to Santiago de Compostela His path leads first through small French towns and cities where the past is remembered in cathedrals, abbeys, and monasteries, most of them older than the United States. Whether they are still vibrant or in ruins they serve as both a centerpiece of the pilgrimage and a backdrop to introduce those who immortalized them. Among the names some better recalled than others like Joan of Arc, (at nineteen-years-old not in college and instead, saving France), and Martin Luther whose ninety-five theses were spread gratuitously by his near-contemporary Johan Gutenberg, a revolutionary religious before he became a malevolent old man.
Egan is never alone, whether remembering the contributions of the early saints or introducing a newly met friend who takes out her phone to show him a photo of her little grandson as he is introduced to the Pope.
Despite the joyful tales, the months are not all sunshine and light as the author intersperses his account by revealing enough family tragedy to challenge a believer. He complements descriptions of the glorious natural scenery, a heatwave, and later snow while suffering enough emotional distress to take him home for a break before reaching St. Peter’s Square and receiving his Vatican seal of the Testimonium.
The Pilgrimage to Eternity is intimate and affecting, and as a pilgrim separates his travels from one day to the next, the book is best read in measured spells to relish every chapter.
|Page Count||384 pages|
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