Make The Connection

Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Following in Their Footsteps: A Pilgrimage to Santiago”

November 6, 2014 – by Katie Nunner '15

Makenna Huff ’15

Learn how OWU’s Course Connections, Travel-Learning Courses, Theory-to-Practice Grants, and other programs prepare students for global citizenship and leadership and help them…Make the Connection.

Ohio Wesleyan student Makenna Huff used an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant to study pilgrimages in historical, religious, and contemporary contexts. Her research included completing a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain in summer 2014. She followed the Camino de Santiago route to the tomb of St. James. (Photo by Makenna Huff ’15)

Makenna Huff ’15

Name: Makenna Huff ’15
Majors: Mathematics, Religion
Hometown: Medina, Ohio
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Following in Their Footsteps: A Pilgrimage to Santiago,” June 18-July 27, 2014

Lesson Learned:

“I walked approximately 500 miles across northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago, a Christian pilgrimage route to the tomb of St. James, dating back to the Middle Ages—in order to explore pilgrimage in historical, religious, and contemporary contexts.

“The participatory and culturally enriching experience of walking to a holy site alongside a diverse group of pilgrims deepened my sense of a unified international community. Sharing mutual struggles, hopes, joys, and fears with my Camino family connected me to the sacred spaces while also challenging me to mature spiritually.

“I began my pilgrimage hoping to study how the Camino de Santiago is both rooted in its medieval heritage and expressed through contemporary Spanish culture, emphasizing the roles of landscape, slow pace, and physical strain. While my initial questions were pertinent to the Camino experience, I learned to ask a thousand more during my 32 days walking. Ultimately, pilgrimage is much more about the people making it than I expected, and I discovered how fascinating the various motivations bringing pilgrims to Spain can be.

“Expanding my studies outside the classroom has revealed to me a new set of questions and directions for further analysis, which I look forward to exploring during my last year here at OWU. I now understand that study of religion cannot be separated from its lived experience, a lesson I am grateful to have learned and which I believe was possible only through personal journey.”