Every year millions of pilgrims of all nationalities, young and old, set out on these voyages of the soul.
Hendrik Busman, a merchant, knelt in prayer one day beside the wayside shrine just outside of Kevelaer. Suddenly he heard a mysterious voice asking him to build a little chapel on the spot. This occurrence was repeated twice. In the same year Hendrik's wife Mechel was offered to buy a picture of Our Lady of Luxembourg. Shortly afterwards, Mechel had a vision during the night: in a clear light, she saw a little chapel with the very same picture inside. When Hendrik Busman learned of this, he hesitated no longer. The little chapel was built in May 1642 and the image of mercy placed inside. The first pilgrims came to Kevelaer that same day. An annual tradition, said to date from the year 1733, is the walk from Bocholt to Kevelaer. Men and women of all ages travel the 30 miles in one day. About a thousand people take part in this pilgrimage every year.
Pilgrimages are as old as mankind. The mystical and spiritual nature of a pilgrimage holds an eternal, mythic appeal to the imagination of many people. Every year millions of pilgrims of all nationalities, young and old, set out on these voyages of the soul. The twelve documentaries in the Pilgrimages of Europe collection are experiential journeys to some of the most sacred routes and holy places throughout Christian Europe.
Each half-hour documentary, richly filmed, looks at the spiritual, cultural and historical background of an important pilgrimage sites throughout Europe. However, the people, the pilgrims themselves, are at the heart of these stories -- their purposes and desires, their motivations, and the great sense of the holy and the sacred which they find on their journeys of faith.