Panoramic view of the village of Lourdes.

Reuters photo RTXMMRM by Jean Philippe Arles

Panoramic view of the village of Lourdes.

Military Culture, Spirituality and Resilience as it Relates to Canadian Participation in the International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes1

by Claude Pigeon

Padre (Major) Claude Pigeon is a member of the CANSOFCOM chaplain team. He is a doctor of theology (Universit Laval) and of religious history and anthropology (Paris-IV-Sorbonne). He enrolled in the Regular Force in 2006 after serving as a Reservist chaplain for four years. He was first posted to 3 Battalion, Royal 22e Rgiment (3 R22eR), at Valcartier. He was then sent to Afghanistan as part of the 3 R22eR battle group (ROTO 4, 20072008). He was transferred to 14 Wing Greenwood and was subsequently posted to the 14 Wing Mission Support Element at Camp Mirage (ROTO 9, 20092010). Padre Pigeon is particularly interested in the link between spirituality and military resilience.

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With the recent deployments of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) into war zones, many military members have increased their interest in their personal spiritual journey as a means to cope with different personal issues and struggles. The personal search for meaning, defined in its broadest sense as spirituality, is a necessary experience in a society where the development of individual liberty is preferred instead of just receiving a common vision of the world. Some human sciences specialists advocate that spirituality is a factor that highly contributes to resilience. In the CAF context, military chaplains are responsible for providing spiritual training programs and opportunities. For example, in May 2012, a delegation of 65 Canadians (soldiers and dependants) joined the 12,000 military members from 34 countries who attended the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes (France). In this article, the author, who was present with the Canadian delegation, reflects upon the meaning of this unique worldwide event, from the context of the Canadian military culture which relates to a wider phenomenon in the Western world. The selected approach is action-research and narrative objectification. The subject is in accordance with the increasing interest being generated for pilgrimages because they offer an opportunity for a religious and spiritual journey, outside of a magisterium authority, that is, the official teaching of a bishop or pope. The novelty of this contribution is the reflection based on a first-hand experience of active duty military personnel who have, in unique ways, confronted and continue to confront, existential questions arising from terror, violence, armed conflicts and war.

A delegation of American soldiers at the 8 June 1964 pilgrimage to Lourdes.

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A delegation of American soldiers at the 8 June 1964 pilgrimage to Lourdes.

With the extension of recent military deployments in combat zones, a number of CF members have undertaken a personal spiritual journey. One of the motivating factors behind this spiritual soul searching is the need to manage various personal and ethical challenges, including physical or psychological injuries, loss, grief, and trauma; the need to manage violent situations in an ethical, upright manner; and family problems, such as separation. Spirituality as a process relates to the personal quest for meaning, which can be all the more necessary in a society where personal freedom takes precedence over a shared world view. Is not spirituality, as defined in that way, a factor that significantly contributes to resilience? The notion of ‘resilience’ is borrowed from the world of physics, and relates to the ability of a metal to absorb energy from a shock, or to sustain pressure without being permanently distorted. In the field of human sciences, the term refers to a process that is more complicated than mere mechanical resilience. It enables a person to [trans.] “ remain himself when there is a blow from the environment and to carry on his human development despite his misfortunes.”2 The discourse and practice of healing and health exists in most religious groups in relation to the meaning given to life’s difficulties. Pilgrimages have a special role in human and spiritual experience, and as such, bring total solace during the spiritual journey. Military activity, which by its very nature is at times marked by dramatic intensity, provides more opportunities for people to face borderline situations in which lifeeither the individual’s or somebody else’sis threatened, and all of a sudden, questions about the meaning of existence need to be answered: Why are we alive? Why does violence exist? Why is there injustice, or suffering? Why do we die? Seeing soldiers who are very effective on the ground leads one to wonder whether they might be the same people who treat questions of meaning with the same healthy attitude that they have towards physical and mental well-being.

The military pilgrimage and socio-religious inquiry

In the CAF, chaplains are tasked with offering soldiers spiritual training programs and other types of spiritual guidance. Canadian chaplains have therefore been working together since 1958 in organizing the International Military Pilgrimage (IMP) to Lourdes, France, under the responsibility of the Diocese of the French Armed Forces.3 In May 2012, a delegation of 65 Canadians (soldiers and members of their families) joined the 12,000 soldiers from 34 countries who were participating in the 54th International Military Pilgrimage. And what, one might ask, was the significance of the event, both in terms of Canadian military culture and the socio-religious context of the Western world? This double-barrelled question underpins the narrative objectification that follows, which resulted from a process related to the action-research approach. The narrative and the reflection, both exploratory, are based on the experience of the author and of active service personnel, who must deal with questions concerning the meaning of life in a very singular way. The point of view is that of a military chaplain.

Canadian delegation marching through Lourdes.

DND photo Lourdes 0264

Canadian delegation marching through Lourdes.

The IMP experience is part of a phenomenon observed in the Western world that is neither exclusive nor univocal: the abandonment of traditional places of worship, often in favour of a spiritual experience that takes the form of a personal quest for life’s meaning and a search for values. The pilgrimage is an experience that is all at once human, spiritual, and religious, and that is linked to certain elements of military culture. How should one interpret the still very marked interest that exists in an international-scale event that is religious and spiritual and that brings together pilgrims from various Christian faiths and religious backgrounds, as well as men and women who have no particular religious affiliation and who are pursuing their spiritual quest on their own? And from that question, two more arise: Would the pilgrimage experience in a military context offer a meaningful place to express the individual spiritual quest? And, would it also be a fruitful place of accompaniment for CAF chaplains who are called upon to suggest that CAF members and their families participate in such experiences on a voluntary basis?

Regarding those questions, the anthropologist Victor Turner has highlighted a number of commonalities of the pilgrimage experience across various traditions, both religious and societal.4 He shows that all types of pilgrimages mark, in one way or another, a gap with respect to the spatial, social, and psychological status quo. Pilgrimages radically expand the bounds of the social and individual universe, opening up new possibilities for meaning and the future. Pilgrimages also involve passing into a marginal or liminal space. He also refers to a set of social relationships within which a form of theophany (a visible manifestation of God or a god to man Ed.) is produced that results in a deeper sense of community. Following that experience, pilgrims are generally compelled to rejoin society, but as changed, renewed people. They can thus take a new place and play a new role. These elements or factors open up new pathways to explore when considering the human and spiritual approach of the pilgrims against the backdrop of military life or a military career.

Pilgrimages in the Western world: revival and comparative scope

At the heart of the modern Western world, while a number of traditional places of worship have been abandoned, pilgrimage sites remain surprisingly vital. The figure of the pilgrim even seems to be the new archetype of the spiritual being vis--vis the religious being.5 For example, over 200,000 pilgrims followed the Camino de Santiago in 2011, whereas in 1993, only 70,000 people walked at least 100 kilometres of the medieval pilgrimage route.6 Most religious traditions are tied to specific sacred sites and to specific types of pilgrimage, even though the meaning of the pilgrimages, their duration and their degrees of intensity vary to a great extent. For example, Hajj in Mecca and Umrah in Medina are among the five pillars of Islam, not to mention the other types of pilgrimages that involve, for example, visiting deeply sacred sites and the tombs of Muslim saints. In Judaism, pilgrimages are also encouraged, the most well-known of which is likely the pilgrimage to the Western Wall of the temple in Jerusalem. In the Eastern traditions, Hinduism has Chardham Yatra, the pilgrimage to the source of the Ganges and its tributaries. The Buddhist religion also has pilgrimages, notably to the four holy places connected to the life of Gautama Buddha. And let us not forget the sublime images of Lhasa, where pilgrims converge, shaking prayer wheels and wooden prayer beads. At the end of their journey, the pilgrims follow the Barkhor, which circles around Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism.

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Al-Masjid al-Haram (Grand mosque) in Mecca, 31 October 2011, fulfilling the Hajj.

Reuters RTR2TGLR by Ammar Awad

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Al-Masjid al-Haram (Grand mosque) in Mecca, 31 October 2011, fulfilling the Hajj.

People of all backgrounds, who have nothing bringing them together in their natural environment, gather in these sacred meeting places to share a single reality. In the sea of pilgrims, neophytes can be found alongside initiates in the quest for greater spiritual maturity. Agnostics can also be found seeking answers. There are also believers who hope to heal physically or mentally, or who want their whole being to be purified or renewed. That said, all appear to recognize the value of having a personal experience that takes some of its strength and depth from a tradition that is passed on and received, often outside the traditional institutional frameworks. Many pilgrims wish to remain outside of magisterium authorities that, by their very nature, are tempted to establish the rules and boundaries of the experience, and to direct it or even restore it. It is perhaps as a place of freedom that the pilgrimage most interests contemporary men and women seeking meaning with which to imbue their lives and the world. In the pilgrim experience, the ‘totally other’ can arise unexpectedly. The pilgrim experience does not merely involve a discourse or a dogma that one accepts; it also involves a personal journey that can be experienced just as well in silent companionship on the road of the Camino de Santiago as it can in the ceaseless wave of invocations repeated during the descent into the Ganges, or in the constant murmur that can be heard at the Western Wall (also called the Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem.

The reason for the staying power of pilgrimages in contemporary culture, and even their revival, is perhaps not to be found first, or exclusively, in the concerted efforts made by the disciples of various religions, but is rather based in the reality and aspirations of modern-day men and women.7 In Western Christianity (although not exclusively), amidst the increasing desanctification of religious institutions, the reign of technology and electronics, and the instantaneous mobilization of people on Facebook or Twitter, our contemporaries seem to be searching for the stable, fixed roots of a sacred land. In a world that is constantly changing, the quest for personal meaning in one’s life, in connection with a coherent system of values, and the feeling of being rooted in a tradition, help people anchor themselves and catch their breath. That anthropologically-based need to be in touch with a sacred space, a Mother Earth, is manifested in people’s attraction to a specific holy place, and their thirst for an absolute that does not always have a name. This quest resurfaces in an impromptu manner in traditional places of pilgrim experience, revisited and reinvented to fulfill contemporary aspirations. If science provides knowledge and ways to find answers to the questions of the universe, each person continues to face the need to make his or her own life significant. In other words, as soon as we are able to understand how the universe works, we begin to ask why, and we feel the pressing need to identify our special place in it for ourselves. Questions about existence are just as powerful and urgent for people today as they have been in the past. The answers that satisfy and mobilize us are generally those that arise out of a personal process. Pilgrims of today seem to be heading off in search of what the world has been unable to offer them, and they hope to find it.

Would pilgrimages contribute to democratizing spirituality because everyone has free access to them, regardless of background, and because each participant is called upon to make his or her own pilgrimage an out-of-the-ordinary experience? The crowd that enters sacred places is a motley crew: seekers of the absolute and tourists, deeply devout types and individuals motivated by curiosity, old people, young people, people who are sick, athletes, families and individuals, people who are at peace, and people who are in crisis. The composition of the crowd of pilgrims erases the established social divisions, and fashions a different way of relating. The unifying experience of the pilgrimage on the personal and collective level places human beings before an ‘otherness’ that all at once fascinates and attracts them, and makes them doubt. The new social structure that is created, in just one moment, is that of a fairer, friendlier world, and the group of pilgrims offers a glimpse of that world. The peaceful, harmonious mix of people from all social classes, ethnicities, and races who gather around the same place of pilgrimage, on unifying, holy land, makes it possible to begin realizing that ideal, multiracial, and multicultural model of humanity that we dream of. What strengthens the group is not faith or belief, but the quest for meaning, openness to an experience that goes beyond what is known and the pre-established order, the shared process of going into oneself, and openness to others and the unexpected. Respect for the unique, valid experience, for what is different, in the face of an absolute that none of us can possess or fully exhaust becomes a meeting point, a place of renewal and a way of reviving day-to-day life such that it can no longer be viewed in the same way. From there emerges new significance that we can lend the world, starting with our own.

The affinity of practices from military culture and pilgrim culture

To a certain extent, Canadian military traditions already offer privileged places of personal and collective experience similar to the ones that make up all pilgrimages: military parades organized to celebrate the achievements of the past and reflecting the values of Canadian society; and commemorative gatherings and ceremonies held at the same sites as events that have marked our history and shaped our collective memory, such as Vimy Ridge and Beaumont-Hamel, and the beaches where the Normandy landings occurred.8 A few recent examples of events that led to similar experiences might be the ceremonies commemorating the 90th anniversary of the storming of Vimy Ridge in 2007, the celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings in 2009, and the commemoration of the War of 1812.9 There have also been international gatherings, such as the Nijmegen marches in the Netherlands,10 and tattoos bringing together military bands from around the world. In the same manner as international sports competitions, these are opportunities for Canadian Armed Forces members to develop strong relationships with their peers, and to cultivate closer ties with friendly nations while showcasing their expertise. Closer to home, the rare but no less important ceremonies for dedicating or depositing the colours (flags) in a secure location or sanctuary11 bring together former and current soldiers from the same unit, thus contributing to reinforcing the social bonds that unite them.

Vimy Ridge.

Pigeon photo IMG_0627

Vimy Ridge.

Therefore, the entire military culture is steeped in a world of meaning where each individual is asked to find his or her uniqueness within a community. Badges, mottos, pennants and flags all reflect common values. They also turn up in military events that are often very colourful, and they are offered in models. Thus exposed and acknowledged, they can serve as a unifying element between past, present and future for each of the members who take part. The personal decision to embrace a common heritage and the pride, loyalty and esprit de corps that follows is similar to the personal endeavours of pilgrims who go off to find themselves and are thrown into the depths of a truth that can only surpass them and grant them access to an absolute and universal realitya reality that will lead them to well-being and even a surplus of being.

Canada’s participation in the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes: openness and inclusion

The IMP to Lourdes is under the responsibility of the Diocese of the French Armed Forces and is supported by the French government. It is part of a tradition that is at once anthropological, spiritual, and military. From 12 -14 May 2012, I had the chance to accompany a delegation of ten CAF members from various units from the national capital region during the pilgrimage.12 The members of our group had a broad range of personal motivations for being there. Although some of the participants were part of a particular religious tradition, neither belonging to a group or institution, nor the habits linked to religious practice or a specific set of personal beliefs, were criteria for taking part. The only conditions for participating were as follows: within the context of an international gathering, pursue a personal quest for meaning and be open to developing a sense of spirituality, the expression of which should be part of a religious reality that is influenced by a strong military culture. Within the very specific context of the IMP, my role as military chaplain was to accompany and support a group of men and women from different religious traditions and different personal backgrounds. They shared the same desire, namely, to deepen their values and beliefs by having a real encounter with themselves and others. The unifying pretext of their individual approach was provided by an international gathering of over 12,000 participants from 34 countries, who came in the same universal spirit of military brotherhood, having undertaken a spiritual quest related to a particular path. The intent of the author is not to ignore or diminish the scope or religious significance of the event.

The pilgrims therefore had a variety of personal motivations: the desire to take a step back from day-to-day life, the need to take a break after fighting cancer, the wish for personal renewal after numerous deployments or the loss of a loved one, the desire to take stock of situations in their personal and professional lives, the urge to experience healthy camaraderie outside of everyday life, the search for real human contact beyond social networking on the Internet, the desire to go over their personal and professional history with the aim of breathing new life into an already busy military career, and so on. None of the soldiers’ personal motivations was foreign to the human and spiritual experience of the pilgrim. Military culture is no stranger to religious signs, symbols and rituals: think of parades in uniform, colour parties, large gatherings such as opening and welcome ceremonies for national emblems, ceremonies held at the local cenotaph, the presence of military musicians during movements, and the performance of rituals. The soldiers’ ordinary environment enables them to easily access a symbolic plane. The transition to such a plane was also realized during the various activities offered during the pilgrimage: walks in the mountains, quiet time, exchanges with other pilgrims who had come from other places and had different cultural backgrounds, the writing of a personal journal, and interactions with other members of the group. At the heart of this concentrated range of activities, both personal and collective, answers to questions concerning the meaning of life can emerge in a way that is unique and specific to each pilgrimthat was my predominant finding. Places and modes of personal experience are endless, just as the possibilities of meaning are far from unequivocal. It is also difficult to evaluate the impact alone that a gathering of thousands of young people can have in a place that is designated as sacred land conducive to spiritual soul searching. Have we forgotten that the religious space, when it helps everyone live in a way that is open-minded and respectful of other people’s experiences, remains a valid and privileged place for the encounter of the self, the ‘other,’ and an absolute?

Canadian delegation at the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

DND photo (DHTC) BED_3643

Canadian delegation at the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

In summary: resilience, soldiers’ personal growth and the role of the chaplain

Existential coherence, which involves the development of a personal life plan (ie, meaning given to life, which helps to overcome the difficulties that arise) generally ranks among the major factors that contribute to promoting military resilience and improving mental health, along with the search for values and coherent beliefs about the life plan.13 The recent implementation of the Road to Mental Readiness program reminds us, in its own way, that values and beliefs are essential to soldiers’ operational readiness; the Canadian Armed Forces recognize the importance of that.14 With respect to human resilience, Boris Cyrulnik15 notes that after major collective tragedies (massacres, wars, genocides), the basic elements of personal and social reconstruction, more easily observed in children, are a sense of meaning and affection that is perceived and felt. In addition, with regard to ethics, in the context of prevailing political liberalism16 where any shared vision of meaning is excluded in favour of individual freedom, the quest for meaning no longer seems to be merely an option: rather, it is an imperative. Values and beliefs help individuals materialize the sense of meaning given to their lives and find their place within their social group.

In the context of the Canadian military, it is notably up to the chaplains, as specialists in matters related to life’s meaning, to find and offer concrete, credible places that can aid people in finding that personal significance, as well as to help their values and beliefs take root. The International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes is a concrete place to express the quest for meaning in an anthropological context that is broad, ecumenical, and inter-religious, and that seems to align with the needs of men and women of today. Adherence to structures or dogma is neither a starting point nor a prerequisite for the experience to be beneficial on a human and spiritual level. In addition, the presence of many elements of military culture, such as parades, marches to the sound of military music, gatherings, ceremonies on parade grounds, commemorations, esprit de corps, and the celebration of shared values using different symbols, are aspects that favour the recognition of the pilgrimage as a place that is accessible, and even familiar, to the soldiers who participate therein. This proximity by affinity may facilitate a personal approach, while encouraging the search for significant elements that can help the pilgrims establish a direction, or find meaning in their lives.

Most of us military chaplains have participated in marches, as well as in long convoys in combat zones alongside soldiers. These are ideal places for building trust and credibility, and, oftentimes, for offering spiritual guidance at the heart of military life. My participation in the 54th International Military Pilgrimage has convinced me that this type of experience can, under certain conditions, be conducive to the personal and professional development of Canadian Armed Forces members (and their families) who are interested in such an approach. Moreover, the experience at Lourdes, and the fragmentary narrative outlined in the preceding lines also raise questions and set conditions concerning the role of resilience and the socio-spiritual credibility of current religious groups with regard to contemporary aspirationscomplex issues that I am not yet sure how to answer, save for here in this article, in the words summarizing the reinterpretation of the experience. It is on the grounds of personal experience and the individual quest for meaning, undertaken in response to questions concerning existence that the link between military culture and pilgrim culture was made for the purposes of this article. The pilgrimage created a credible space in which soldiers felt welcome and encouraged to find their own way, while maintaining a link with a group of people seeking meaning. Here we have one of the conditions for making credible and effective, and even revitalizing, the discourse and practice of healing and health that exists in most religious groups, in relation to the challenge of overcoming life’s difficulties. One conviction remains, however, at the end of this narrative: pilgrimages are relevant to the very core of the expertise and role entrusted to military chaplains, who are mandated religious leaders within the Canadian Armed Forces. The different religious and spiritual traditions that are relevant to Canadian military chaplains are still full of possibilities that we are far from exhausting.

Closing ceremonies of the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Pigeon photo

Closing ceremonies of the 54th International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes.


  1. A reworked version of this text was submittedin order to give a specialized Francophone audience access to itin the magazine Incursions, No. 7, Paris, 2nd quarter, 2012.

  2. Boris Cyrulnik, Ces enfants qui tiennent le coup. Marseille, Revigny-sur-Ornain, Hommes et Perspectives, Collection, 2000, p. 9. As part of her work surrounding the implementation of a military resilience training program in preparation for the deployment of Canadian troops to Afghanistan, psychologist Christiane Routhier suggests the following operational definition: [trans.] “Military resilience corresponds to the process whereby a soldier remains functional despite stress and potential traumas, by cultivating the psychological distancing necessary to situate these intermittent events in his individual life history; place their effects in context and access the general resistance resources against the effects of stress in order to cope with them; and continue on his path toward attainment of his personal life goals.” In the Military Resilience Training Program (MRTP), Trainer’s Manual, Valcartier, PQ, Canada, Land Force Quebec Area/Department of National Defence, unpublished document, p. 47. In his doctoral thesis, Andr Belzile puts forth an overview of the concept of resilience: Les constituants de la rsilience chez la personne ayant t abuse dans son enfance, dans un contexte d’exprience religieuse. Doctoral thesis, Qubec, QC: Universit Laval, 2008. Accessible online at www.theses.ulaval.ca/2008/25489/25489.pdf.

  3. The first IMP was held 13-16 June 1958. That year, Catholics from around the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Notre-Dame apparitions in the small town of Lourdes, in France. A number of foreign pilgrims arranged to go to the grotto in Lourdes and participate in the jubilee events at the sanctuaries. Taking advantage of the international excitement, Monsignor Badre, who at the time was the director of the French Army’s Catholic chaplaincy, also invited the chaplaincies from the foreign delegations within NATO to Lourdes. They had already participated in the national pilgrimages that had been organized since 1944 by Father Besombes, a priest from Toulouse, and a military chaplain. Monsignor Badre also suggested to Monsignor Werthman, the then-curate for the German army, to join the gathering. Thus, with great significance, the Bundeswehrthe army of the Federal Republic of Germany that was created in 1955came to participate in the first IMP. That gathering for the [trans.] “reconciliation of the peoples of the world” (speech by Marshal Juin at the military camp) preceded the major meeting on September 14 and 15, 1958, between General de Gaulle and the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, which politically sealed the reconciliation between the two countries. The IMP’s origins are therefore rooted in the massive presence of soldiers who were still in Europe in the years following the war and in the reconciliation process that was underway between France, Germany and all the Allied countries. As a result, the gathering of those armies in one place to pray for peacearmies that, just a few years earlier, had fought against or alongside one anotherwas highly symbolic. To obtain a more detailed historical account, go to http://dirpmi.free.fr/index.php/presentation-du-pelerinage-militaire-international.html , accessed 30 July 2012. The main source is Ren Dupuy’s Le Plerinage militaire international Lourdes, IMP Historical Commission, France, n/a, accessed 30 July 2012.

  4. Victor Turner, Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1974). One can also see John Eade and Michael J. Sallnow, Contested the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage, Urbana, (Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 2000).

  5. On this subject, read the works of two religious sociologists, Marcel Gauchet, Le dsenchantement du monde, (Paris: Flammarion, 1985), and Diane Hervieu-Lger, Le plerin et le converti. La religion en mouvement, (Paris: ditions Champs-Flammarion, 1999). From a theological point of view, see the file devoted to pilgrimages published by CONCILIUM, Revue internationale de thologie, No. 266, 1996, and COMMUNIO, Revue catholique internationale, Vol XII, 4, No. 132, 1997. Lastly, see the work of Michel Stavrou and Sister Jean-Marie-Valmigre, Le plerinage comme dmarche ecclsiale, (Paris, Thls, 2004).

  6. Official site of the Les chemins vers Compostelle association, which can be found at the following address: http://www.chemin-compostelle.info/informations-pratiques-pelerinage-compostelle/statistiques-sur-compostelle.html . Accessed 30 July 2012.

  7. See Reginald Bibby, Beyond the Gods & Back: Religion’s Demise and Rise and Why It Matters, (Toronto: Project Canada Books, 2011). The author, who has been a sociologist and observer of religious fact in Canada since 1975, emphasizes the enduring nature of religion in Canada rather than its disappearance. He presents the idea of a restructuring and polarization of religious fact, maintained on the side of the religious groups by the arrival of new Canadians, among other things. The researcher also notes that there is still a great deal of interest in spirituality when it is not perceived in institutional terms, ie, belonging to a group or regularly participating in religious services.

  8. In most of these places, commemorative monuments are built to remind people of the sacrifice made by soldiers who died in combat. A directory of Canadian commemorative monuments built around the world can be found at http://veterans.gc.ca/fra/memoriaux Accessed 30 July 2012.

  9. The war fought between the United States and Great Britain between 1812 and 1815. British North America, particularly Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec), was the main objective of the American military operations. The Government of Canada’s Website on the topic can be found at www.1812.gc.ca . Accessed 23 August 2012.

  10. Canada has been participating in this event since 1952. The event attracts 40,000 walkers from over 50 countries who cover 160 km over four days. The Website can be found at http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/nij-nim/index-far.asp . Accessed 9 September 2012.

  11. In accordance with an old military tradition, Beechwood, the National Cemetery of Canada, also houses recently dedicated colours. They are hung in the Hall of Colours on each side of a magnificent commemorative stained glass piece, “Hope in a Broken World,” donated by the Canadian Military Chaplains’ Association. The Hall of Colours has already received the Queen’s Colour of the Maritime Command (Navy), and the colours of several of Canada’s most famous regiments, including the Royal Canadian Regiment and the Royal 22e Rgiment. The colours of the Les Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent Regiment, of the Primary Reserve, were the last colours to be laid up in the hall, in May 2012. Following tradition, they will remain honourably suspended and untouched, until with the passing of time, they completely disintegrate.

  12. The proposed program included participating in the International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes and a professional development activity at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Most of the Canadian participants who took part in the IMP funded their own trip.

  13. Christiane Routhier, Military Resilience Training Program: Survey of the Literature and Existing Programs, 5 Field Ambulance, Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, 2 March 2006.

  14. Road to Mental Readiness is the new national training program of the Canadian Armed Forces; it is aimed at training troops before, during and after deployments to operational zones, particularly combat zones. Module 5 of the pre-deployment training program is wholly devoted to the importance of personal values and beliefs. Readers who are interested in this topic can go to www.forces.gc.ca/r2mr-rvpm . Accessed 30 July 2012.

  15. The French author Boris Cyrulnik, ethnologist, psychoanalyst, psychologist, and neuropsychiatrist, popularized the concept of resilience for use in a human sciences context. See the following works: Un merveilleux malheur, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1999); Les vilains petits canards, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2001); Le murmure des fantmes, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2003); Psychanalyse et rsilience, (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2006); La rsilience, Lormont, FR: ditions du Bord de l’eau, 2009).

  16. John Locke (16321704) is generally considered to be the father of political liberalism. His two treaties on civilian government (published in 1690) develop the basic ideas behind liberalism. They include the statement that humans possess inalienable rights (liberty, property, security), that governing bodies have limited powers, and that the delegation of authority is based on a temporary social contract that can be changed. For a broader presentation of political liberalism, see James F. Chidress and John Maquarrie (eds), “Liberalism,” in the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1967, 1986, [revised edition.])