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Religions 2018, 9(6), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9060196

Return to the Sacred: The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and Contemporary Christianity

Department of English, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA
Received: 9 March 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Journeys: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage)
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Abstract

Once one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in England, The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, now under the care of the Anglican Church, operates as a site of devotion, but it also operates as a site of memory. In this essay, I will argue that, in this place of memory, where pre-Reformation worship meets contemporary devotion and tourism, we find insights for the contemporary church. The Protestant Reformation contributed to the desacralization of the world. Later events such as the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution of the past two centuries have shifted Western attitudes about the natural world even further away from the sacred. However, every year, thousands of visitors come to Walsingham. What draws them? What are they seeking? To consider what a shrine such as Walsingham might mean to a pilgrim, I will examine Philip earl of Arundel’s poetic lament at the destruction of the shrine, William Shakespeare’s nostalgia for the sacred feminine in The Winter’s Tale, and Robert Lowell’s 1947 poetic treatment of Walsingham. I will argue that focusing on sacred spaces, particularly those associated with the sacred feminine can benefit contemporary Catholics and Protestants. View Full-Text
Keywords: Catholic; Protestant; sacred feminine; memory; Reformation; shrine; Walsingham; Shakespeare; Robert Lowell Catholic; Protestant; sacred feminine; memory; Reformation; shrine; Walsingham; Shakespeare; Robert Lowell
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Dunn-Hensley, S. Return to the Sacred: The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and Contemporary Christianity. Religions 2018, 9, 196.

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