The Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and the Great Lakes

Minnesota Humanities Commission
Marilyn Chiat, Ph.D.
Project Duration: 
Jun 8 2000 to Aug 3 2001
Project Description: 

The purpose of the project was to expand the research and information available in the author's previous book, America's Religious Architecture: Sacred Places for Every Community (John Wiley & Sons, 1997), so that a greater variety of sacred sites could be made known to the public. Because of the more limited geographic parameters of this book, the author was able to explore a greater variety of sites in more detail. These structures and sacred sites are important historical “documents”– texts with important stories to tell about the people who came to settle here.

The issue the project attempted to meet was to make people more aware of these sacred sites, both the built and the natural. It explains how we can “listen” to the stories that make these places special to others and, once the stories are told, sacred to us as well. Exploring a sacred place involves a twofold journey, both in the sense of travel to a site, but also a journey of enlightenment–of gaining a better understanding of our nation's great diversity as displayed in its many and varied spiritual spaces, and the stories they embody.

The project ultimately resulted in the publication of The Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and Illinois: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Peaceful Places (HiddenSpring, 2004)