Virtual Pilgrimage: A Pathway to Spiritual Renewal for Frontline Volunteers in Ottawa's Shepherds of Good Hope

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Title: Virtual Pilgrimage: A Pathway to Spiritual Renewal for Frontline Volunteers in Ottawa's Shepherds of Good Hope
Authors: MacDonald, Ann
Date: 2019-06-03
Abstract: Walking practices are experiencing a revival in the post-millennial world. Chief among these is the discipline of pilgrimage. The purpose of this research was to explore the pilgrimage trope as a pathway to spiritual renewal for Ottawa’s Shepherds of Good Hope (SGH) volunteers. A form of substitute pilgrimage identified as ‘virtual pilgrimage’ (VP) was adapted to simulate the last 100 km. of the Camino de Santiago trail. A purposive random sample of twelve SGH volunteers (six men and six women) walked the distance virtually, over a period of six weeks. Each week, the participants were given a reflection question to focus their walks and their journal accounts. The research methodology was configured around Richard Osmer’s four-task cycle for practical theological research. The data was collected by way of a questionnaire, a focus group, and the participants’ journal accounts. NVIVO software was used to analyze the data, and Stephen Bevans’ “praxis model” was used to interpret the results. Virtual pilgrimage encompasses many of the themes associated with the traditional distance pilgrimage, including suspension of regular routines, intentionality, experiences of blessedness and beauty, and encounters with sacred mystery that inspired social action. The results showed that like the traditional, distance pilgrimage, virtual pilgrimage contains a parallel facility for spiritual renewal, with potential wide-ranging applications in the health, human, and social services fields.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/39269
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-23516
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses
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