In Via: Tourists turned Pilgrims with Liz Lev

"By the end of our journey, we are not just tourists or visitors, but pilgrims, profoundly changed by our encounter with art, faith, and life as a pilgrimage."

As an art historian living in Rome, Liz Lev has a unique perspective on the intersection of art and faith. Her journey of discovering the beauty and truth of Catholicism through her study of art offers profound insights into the spiritual intentions behind the masterpieces of renowned artists like Michelangelo and Bernini. Their work is not just for personal glory and prestige, but serve also as a testament to their devotion to their faith. As Catholics, we must seek the true intentions and messages behind their masterpieces, rather than reduce them to their secular interpretations.

A key theme in our conversation with Liz was the distinction between being a tourist and a pilgrim. A pilgrimage is not just about what we receive, but also what we give. It’s a journey going beyond visiting a place to actively participating in the spiritual journey it represents. The democratization of beauty through virtual tours and images can never substitute the transformative power of an actual, in-person pilgrimage. The significance of visiting holy sites and the life-changing power of pilgrimage must be experienced in real-time.

One of Liz’s favorite places to guide pilgrims in Rome is the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums allow you to see the classical world in its full glory. Oblivious to the coming incarnation, and how the Christian world and artists co-opted beauty to create something completely new. The interaction of human beings, their disagreements, their struggles, and their triumphs in creating these masterpieces is incredibly eye-opening. 

Liz also has a passion for showcasing the role of women in the history of the Church. From Santa Costino to Santa Maria, she loves challenging the stereotypes and assumptions about the Church and women, offering a fresh perspective on their significant role in Church history.

In our dialogue with Liz, we were reminded of the transformative power of art and pilgrimage. From the corridors of the Vatican Museums to the enchanting streets of Rome, every step of the journey invites us to look deeper, question, and discover the profound spiritual intentions beneath the surface of these masterpieces. By the end of our journey, we are not just tourists or visitors, but pilgrims, profoundly changed by our encounter with art, faith, and life as a pilgrimage.


Listen to this episode of our Podcast, In Via: Navigating the Pilgrimage of Life, hosted by Joan Watson on Apple Music, Spotify, or on our website.




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