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Abstract

There is a long-standing tradition within western Germany of religious journey, and more pertinent to this paper, of pilgrims requesting Andenken (remembrances) when they could not physically attend pilgrimages. In the following essay, I analyze pilgrim correspondence sent to the Catholic Pilgrimage Committees, groups of clerics who facilitated pilgrimage to Aachen and Trier, Germany. I argue that Catholic pilgrims participated in an ‘economy of the sacred’ through their requests for and use of various pilgrimage objects; including, commemorative cards, medals, and rosaries. Within this economy wealth, worth, and merit were determined by an item’s physical proximity to the relics of these towns. Even as the number of objects available increased in diversity between 1832 and 1937, pilgrims continued to view Andenken as a tangible connection to the sacred - not as trinkets or souvenirs.

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