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The Accidental Pilgrim
New Journeys on Ancient Pathways
by Maggi Dawn
Maggi Dawn's book is full of memorable moments in her exploration of pilgrimage. She begins by describing her experiences on a study tour to Israel when she was a student. At first her view of the groups of pilgrims rushing from one 'holy place' to another was a cynical one. She had set out on the expedition feeling clear that she was not going to waste her time on ancient superstitions and relics that had nothing to do with reality. But by the end of the visit she had found herself drawn into something more profound than a study trip. She had not set out on a pilgrimage but had become an 'accidental pilgrim'.
The rest of the book is an unfolding of Maggi's own journey of discovery of what it means to be a pilgrim. She writes, movingly, of a brief visit to Lindisfarne: 'And here, cut off by the tide, small squabbles of church order and theological correctness were restored to their proper place. My own sense of place in the world was restored: not too important, yet not insignificant either.' Her circumstances change and other journeys have to take place with her child in a pushchair and later still, when illness strikes, the pilgrimage is an internal one. Maggi's honest and compelling writing about her own pilgrimage has encouraged me to persevere with mine.
Reviewer: Jackie Rowe (29/10/12)