The Pilgrim’s Journey

Something that immediately stood out to me as I studied Saint Denis was the collective religion that the people of that time period shared. In particular, the idea of a pilgrimage struck me as something that many people in the Christian faith do not take as seriously anymore. Looking at the remnants of the town, we can see that pilgrims often wore little shields or badges to indicate what pilgrimages they had taken part in and displayed proudly on their clothing or on the walls of their home. As I thought back to the other cultures and civilizations we have studied thus far I noticed that the closer to the modern era one gets, the less isolated religion becomes. For instance, the people of Latte did not worship the same deities as the people of Morbihan. Ratheer, those religions were influenced by different cultures and practices. However, studying Saint Denis we can see that this isolation of religion has drastically changed over time. The very idea of a pilgrimage, let alone many different pilgrimages, means that people who practice the same religion span many miles.

            Looking into the shields and badges more, we can see the intense sense of pride that the pilgrims of the time got from completing a pilgrimage. While in today’s world people do make pilgrimages to Mecca or the Vatican, I feel as though it is not entirely the same as it was during the formation of the town at Saint Denis. The main reason I think this is because of the fact that the pilgrims had uniformed shields that showed where they had been. This means that people from all over the region and possibly even abroad, would know which sacred places the pilgrim had been to. To have this type of uniform categorization of pilgrimages shows that it was something that the entire society cared about. Sometimes, I feel as though today’s day and age of technology and personalization keeps us from participating in events as a community. At Baylor we are lucky because we can often find a community through religion, but even here, the scale of collective religious practice feels much smaller when compared to the fervor and devotion of the people that visited and lived in Saint Denis.

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