Each year, tens of thousands of travelers walk the pilgrimage trail in northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago, to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and the legendary burial site of the apostle St. James. This year, a group of Fordham students undertook the 500-mile trek are shared their thoughts on the journey through a University-sponsored blog, Fordham Camino 2007.
The blog was developed by Richard F. Gyug, Ph.D., professor of history, who offered the study tour as a course through the University’s Center for Medieval Studies. The pilgrimage began on May 28 and continued until June 10. Students posted blog entries from Internet cafés along the route.
In addition to undertaking the pilgrimage, students were required to submit a journal at the end of the course. They also met daily on the trail to discuss medieval and pre-modern monuments along the route.
The study tour, however, is not the only Fordham connection to the Camino de Santiago.
Late last summer, Fordham alumnus Chris Lowney (FCRH ’81, GSAS ’82) undertook the pilgrimage to mark the founding of his nonprofit organization, Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Furture (POCF), which funds education and healthcare for impoverished children and their families in the developing world. Supporters pledged donations for each mile that Lowney walked. In May and June, a pair of recent Boston College graduates walked the trail to support POCF. Lowney, who serves as a consultant for the Catholic Medical Mission Board, became interested in the medieval pilgrimage route while researching his most recent book, A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain (Free Press, 2005).
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. In 1993, it was selected as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.