This research examines the factors that religious pilgrims draw upon when constructing a personal meaning of their visit to Lourdes. Through an ethnographic examination of twenty-five individuals it finds that their experiences may be characterized by the common themes that comprise ‘lived connections’, unexpected ‘encounters’, ‘visual’ and ‘curative’ content. These themes parallel those that feature in the seminal account of Bernadette Soubirous' vision of the Virgin Mary in 1858, which we collectively term ‘Echoes of Bernadette’. Those who successfully navigate the apparently contested spaces and interact in meaningful encounters are partaking of a pilgrimage that is rooted in the religious and the historic. The study provides a contribution to the theory of pilgrimage by declaring that it may be enacted in a post-postmodern duality that accepts the freedom of the individual but recognizes their need for experiences that are grounded in a sociohistorical ‘truth’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-422
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
Volume68
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Lourdes, Meaning, Pilgrimage

ID: 2141377