Beth G.'s Reviews > The Singular Pilgrim: Travels on Sacred Ground

The Singular Pilgrim by Rosemary Mahoney
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Sep 26, 09

bookshelves: library-books, non-fiction, religion, travel, memoir, 2009
Read in January, 2009

Award-winning author and lapsed Irish Catholic Mahoney takes the reader to six sites of pilgrimage in different parts of the world in this combination memoir and travelogue. First, she takes two pilgrimages (one Catholic, one Anglican) to Walsingham, England, then visits Lourdes on the way to walking El Camino de Santiago from France into Spain. Following a lengthy sojourn in Varanasi, India, she spends Christmas in Bethlehem and Nazareth after a brief visit to Jerusalem. Finally, she travels to Ireland for three days on Lough Derg, performing a strictly scripted penitential rite in St. Patrick's Purgatory. While Mahoney's detailed descriptions of the people she meets and the landscapes she sees bring the reader along on her travels, it is her explorations in search of her own belief that many readers will find familiar. The difficult balancing act between faith and intellect is a recurring theme as she observes the faithful in different communities and cultures. Here and there, the narrative begins to drag, but it quickly picks up again. While she finds no easy answers in her observations of the devout or in her performance of devotions, her account of the journey is fascinating.
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