When Pilgrims Emigrate


Polish immigrants to Alberta, Canada, have, since their arrival 100 years ago, established shrines and initiated pilgrimages as a way to re-establish a cultural and religious rhythm which had been temporarily interrupted by their journey. In this paper, the pilgrimage to the Lourdes Grotto at Skaro, Alberta, is explored against the background of the Polish immigrant history in Alberta, and of a changing pilgrimage tradition in the Western world. The phases of pilgrimage as discussed by Victor and Edith Turner are also the key phases of immigration. While its old heritage anchors the Albertan pilgrimage firmly in the European tradition, the immigrant journey which is shared by the Polish pilgrims adds a dimension to the Albertan pilgrimage which is uniquely Canadian.

How to Cite

Goa, D. J. & Kelker, H. A., (1996) “When Pilgrims Emigrate”, Ethnologia Europaea 26(1), 27-35. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.846

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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David J. Goa (University of Alberta)
Henriette A. Kelker (Provincial Museum of Alberta)



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