A Pilgrimage to EternityPosted: November 4, 2020
A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith
Penguin Books (October 15, 2019), 382 pages
Kindle edition $13.99, Amazon paperback $15.99
I like travel books and I enjoy books about an individual’s spiritual quest, so what better than a combination of the two?
In A Pilgrimage to Eternity Egan describes his travel along the Via Francigena, the pilgrim’s trek from Canterbury to Rome. He makes the trip in two segments, returning home to the United States about halfway through. His son and later his daughter accompany him at various times and his wife joins him for the end of the journey. Blisters on his feet cause him to take part of the trip by train and later by rental car, but this does not bother him terribly; his one rule seems to be travel must be on the ground and not by air.
In addition to describing his journey and the marvelous hospitality he received along the way, Egan includes several diversions. He writes about history, reminding us of Martin Luther’s anti-Semitism and the atrocities committed by John Calvin. He includes some personal history, including the story of a predatory priest in his hometown. Nonetheless, Egan isn’t anti-religion. He sees the value in it, and even has the hutzpah to seek a personal audience with the pope. He must be content with seeing the pope with a small group of pilgrims.
Egan delivers an entertaining travelogue and some valuable insights into the spiritual path.