Tag Archives: pilgrimage

Article: Spirituality in Contemporary Ireland: Manifesting Indigeneity, by Bernadette Flanagan and Michael O’Sullivan

The article‘s two authors, Bernadette Flanagan and Michael O’Sullivan, write that scholars of Christian spirituality need to look beyond classical Christian texts to understand developments in contemporary spirituality.  In the case of contemporary spirituality in Ireland, we need to explore practices that predate the advent of Christianity in that country. They introduce their approach in the following excerpt:

… this article will focus in particular on an ethnographic/historical account of how the inter-spiritual blend of indigenous tradition and Christianity is a characteristic feature of an emerging spirituality in Ireland.

In other words, many have responded to the crisis of credibility of religious institutions by wedding a Christian upbringing with pre/early Christian spiritual practices, which are orally available from living older generations in Ireland. The significant emerging spiritual practices that will be reviewed in this article will be the revitalization of Pilgrim paths; the visitation of Holy Wells; the restoration of Pattern Days, celebration of the four key festivals of the Celtic calendar; the engagement between Old and New Monasticism and the turn to public celebrations of ancient Celtic festivals. For some people these new expressions are a retrieval of a neglected stream within Catholicism; whereas for others the new expressions are a mark of separation from the past.

Here’s the article’s citation data:

Flanagan, B. & O’Sullivan, M. “Spirituality in Contemporary Ireland: Manifesting Indigeneity.” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, vol. 16 no. 3, 2016, pp. 55-73.

A subscription to Spiritus is one of the benefits of membership in the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.

Paper: Pilgrimage Sanctification through Effective Communication, by Nico de Klerk

Nico de Klerk, in his paper presented at the SSCS meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 2015, describes the importance of spiritual practices for the Reformed Church, in particular the practice of pilgrimage. His essay makes the following two statements:

  • Pilgrimage has a lot more potential for spiritual life than we can imagine.
  • By “modernising” the pilgrimage concept we can enrich our spiritual lives with His grace and presence.

De Klerk’s purpose is first to describe the current place of pilgrimage in the Reformed tradition, and then to begin suggesting ways of communicating the meaning of pilgrimage for the spiritual life. To quote from his paper:

Given the Reformed traditions Calvinistic background we have a challenge in terms of skills for what I would like to call: “spiritual communication”. Communication in a spiritual context towards self, others and God. In this I would like to be practical and share some of the practical things I am doing and experimenting with, in a while. The foundation will still be the personal relationship between the individual and God. Question is can we explore pilgrimage to be more influential than what it is currently?

SSCS members can request a copy of de Klerk’s paper from the moderator.