Mini-miracles : transformations of self from consumption of the Lourdes pilgrimage

Higgins, Leighanne and Hamilton, Kathy (2016) Mini-miracles : transformations of self from consumption of the Lourdes pilgrimage. Journal of Business Research, 69 (1). pp. 25-32. ISSN 0148-2963

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    Abstract

    This paper explores transformations of self through pilgrimage consumption. A three year ethnographic study of Lourdes, one of the largest Catholic pilgrimage destinations, reveals the concept of “mini-miracles” to refer to those miracles that occur in and are important to an individual’s life, but are unlikely ever to be officially deemed as miracles in the eyes of the church. Mini-miracles transform selves and in turn draw pilgrims annually and recurrently to consume the Lourdes pilgrimage experience. The findings reveal the existence of three forms of subjectively experienced mini-miracles: physical, social and peaceful, each of which act as intangible word-of-mouth consumption drivers to the Lourdes pilgrimage. Lourdes, as a business institution, should capitalize on the word-of-mouth mini-miracles shared amongst consumers as a means of building and maintaining stronger networks and relationships with inCatholic/ Christian communities at both the national and local level.