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Building Faith in Amite
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Building Faith in Amite

Pilgrimage is a journey made to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion. St. Augustine of Hippo first coined the term, Peregrinatio, which means pilgrimage in Latin, and defined it as a Christian spiritual journey as a self-imposed exile in which the pilgrim searched for God’s truth.  Pilgrimage has been important throughout Christian history and is a source of inner transformation.

While we often think of a pilgrimage as involving a long physical journey, pilgrimage also can take place in the context of a short journey or retreat. Pilgrimage is more about the spiritual experience than it is about geography. It is about journeying outside of yourself to encounter God where God is at work and to allow yourself to be changed by the encounter.

Experiencing Pilgrimage

One way to experience pilgrimage is to step into the life of Christ, especially His Passion. By reflecting upon how much Jesus sacrificed for His people, we also can begin reflecting upon how Jesus wants us to sacrifice our own needs to help others in His name. Another way to experience pilgrimage is to put ourselves in the place of the apostles as they prayed with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and as they gave up families to follow Jesus. Or we experience pilgrimage by thinking about Mary and her sacrifice in agreeing to become the bearer of God and what she may have felt as she saw her son mature, die, and rise again. Pilgrimage can also be experienced through time set apart for prayer and Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading.

Visiting a shrine, or holy place,  is another way to experience pilgrimage because shrines teach us about God, saints and our Christian history.  Shrines also provide a place where individuals can come to seek the intercession of a particular saint and to feel the peace that comes from knowing that those prayers have been answered.

Pilgrimage Close to Home

Full of Grace,  a retreat center and gift shop in Amite, La., provides opportunities to immerse yourself in the life of Christ and connect these truths to the Catholic tradition. It provides an opportunity for those of all Christian traditions to experience a time set apart for the busyness of the world to reflect upon their faith and what God calls them to do and be. 

The gardens of the adjoining St. Helena Catholic Church provides many things to do to experience pilgrimage without having to travel far from home, including gardens dedicated to saints or to Jesus's passion. Its reliquary holds 150 relics; relics have a long tradition of providing healing. The gift shop is also a place of peace and tranquility, with stained glass windows lining its side walls. The gift shop also offers rosaries and statues of saints that reinforce the experience of pilgrimage, allowing you to bring that experience home for yourself or to relatives.

Build your faith through a pilgrimage at Full of Grace today. 

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