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Pilgrimages in Europe

02/12/14

Pilgrimages in Europe

Author to speak about pilgrimages in Europe 

Beebe Bahrami
Beebe Bahrami
Photo By Steve Mullen

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Beebe Bahrami, an author and anthropologist, will share her knowledge of sacred sites and pilgrim routes in Spain and France when she appears in March at Johnson County Community College.

Bahrami will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in the Hudson Auditorium at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. The talk will be free and open to the public.

A pre-talk reception will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Regnier Center's Atrium, located adjacent to the museum.

Drawing from her own experiences and research, Bahrami has written two books: "The Spiritual Traveler – Spain: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes" and "Historic Walking Guides: Madrid." She plans to focus her address on the pilgrimage to St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, one of the most well known pilgrimages in the world.

In the Middle Ages, pilgrims from across Europe flocked to Santiago after hearing that the remains of St. James, one of the closest companions of Jesus, had somehow mysteriously come to be buried there. Thousands continue to flock there from various points on the Camino de Santiago, a network of the most commonly used routes.

The most famous route starts on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains; it takes more than a month of walking for most people. Other routes are as long, or longer, and can begin farther afield in Europe or along the coast, from the south, or by arriving by boat from the north.

Bahrmai says that walking day after day can be a transforming experience.

"You just walk," she said. "It's so simple yet it is an adventure. It's like you suddenly decided to be open to the unknown. Oftentimes, the unknown is not just the road but all of these things going on inside of you. It can be a liberating, cleansing experience."

Bahrami will be working with JCCC students from March 10-14 as part of the college's scholar-in-residence program.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, March 13, she will give a presentation for students, faculty and staff in the Hudson Auditorium. She plans to focus that address on a travel memoir she is writing about southwest France, a region that has particularly captured her imagination. 

Bahrami grew up in Boulder, Colo., but often visited relatives in Iran. She felt the influence of the two cultures but did not realize that she wanted to study anthropology until she spent her last college semester in southern Spain. She has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

For more information, visit her website at beebesfeast.com.

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