There are many reasons to embark on a journey on foot: in addition to cultural discovery, tourism and socialization, spirituality is certainly a deeply felt motivation by many walkers. Thus, among the European pilgrimages analyzed by the rurAllure project, the pilot focused on focus on the Mária Út (also known as the Way of Holy Mary, or Via Mariae) is of central importance.
Crossing Transylvania on the way to Csíksomlyó, the Way of Mary offers a peaceful contemplation and several interesting sites to visit. The pilgrimage route of Central Europe – the Way of Mary – has a wide variety of spiritual content. On one hand, it comes from the route’s name, as the Christian community in the region has a deep reverence for the figure of the Virgin Mary. On the other hand, the route itself connects the places of worship and the shrines of Mary. These places highlight different aspects of Mary: a shrine to Mary the Helper, the Blessed Virgin, etc.
In addition to its Christian foundations, the pilgrimage has a complex spiritual strtucture, which should be analysed in many ways. During the pilgrimage, one encounters a variety of experiences that can bring inner change, which sometimes needs expert support. In light of the pandemic mental health is of particular importance and needs to be charished and preserved.
For all these reasons, the Way of Mary Association took the initiative to set up a spiritual council of prominent professionals and church figures to reflect together about the spiritual renewal of the Way of Mary and spiritual themes for individual pilgrims and groups. The rurAllure offers a new angle: pilgrimage and natural heritage, attracting attention to environment and the need to safeguard the created world.
The spiritual council included members of the rurAllure program, represented by KIFÜ, the bishop of Szombathely, a nun of the Eight Happiness Community, and the father of the spiritual guidance from the Way of Mary volunteers, as well as a mental health professional and a former representative of the Hungarian embassy at the Holy See in the Vatican. The work has begun in 2021, and we will soon see the newly emerging ideas in the narratives embodied in the podcasts of the rurAllure programme.