The Power of Pilgrimage

Sign on a wall in Assisi

We don’t use the words pilgrim and pilgrimage much anymore. Sure, some people are vaguely familiar with the idea, but most Christians have never participated in a pilgrimage. This is a shame because the reality is that we are all pilgrims, and pilgrimages are tremendous opportunities for grace and conversion. I believe that pilgrimage is at the heart of the spiritual life.

Our very life is a pilgrimage, always being enticed further, being brought closer to Christ.

At times our lives are too chaotic for us to hear God’s invitation, but if you are able to get away from the madness and be still, you can hear it; you can sense it. It is in the quiet that we understand why we are walking. It is in the stillness that we more fully understand what or whom we are walking toward. Enjoy these stories of pilgrimages.  —Father Dave Pivonka, TOR

luggage piled on top of each other

Living with Less in Assisi

Of course, being a white upper-middle-class American who goes without her suitcase for nine days is nowhere close to experiencing true poverty or trial. But if living with less, even temporarily, helped me to understand the values of St. Francis a bit better, then it's an experience I'm happy to have had. Read more...

Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

A Journey of Healing

Every step I took on the pilgrimage seemed to not only bring me closer to Francis and Clare, but also to my mom. In the years since, I have continued to walk in the footsteps of Francis, Clare, and my mom, carrying the lessons I learned during that time in Assisi and Rome deep within my heart. Read more...

top of a church in Jerusalem

The Journey Inward

Many pilgrimages have as their destination a shrine built around relics, miraculous statues, apparitions, or the witness of saints. But pilgrimage involves interior change. That’s how it differs from tourism. And that’s why people can be on pilgrimage—even in their living rooms. In my heart I’m always on pilgrimage. Read more...

Assisi during sunset

Sacred Silence in Santo Stefano

Having passed by Santo Stefano earlier, we noticed this medieval church and wondered what it was like inside. So we picked that as our place to reflect, and after making the short walk from where we were staying, we entered through its old, wooden door and were transported back to the time of Francis. Read more...

City view of Rome, Italy

Always a Pilgrim

After an hour in the city, I'm not surprised that I love it. I have always felt more comfortable in a noisy metropolis, and Rome is one with a lightning-fast pulse. In our downtime, three of us wander, not knowing where it is we’re going. Honestly, I’m indifferent. I’ve never been so happy to be lost. Read more...

Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs