Reluctant Franciscan Pilgrim

Reluctant Franciscan Pilgrim

Phone calls, e-mails and project deadlines were excusable distractions for preparing myself to go on a pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome in July. Why bother preparing when I was not even sure why I signed up? Was it to see Italy? Experience the food and language of a distant land? Shop for souvenirs? I was afraid of the word pilgrim probably because of a few high school hang-ups with Catholic retreat experiences. But that is another post.

La Maddelena Moment

As a pilgrim, I needed to prepare before I went. A colleague who went on this same pilgrimage assured me all would be prepared for me. In fact, she encouraged me to let go of my desire to control the experience. “These are experienced pilgrim leaders. Relax and let them lead you in a wonderful Franciscan experience.”


And that is what I did. I went from being the reluctant pilgrim to the relaxed pilgrim within 48 hours after arrival in Assisi. These beautiful photos might explain why:

Gathering at an Assisi plaza

View from Assisi room

Lovely Assisi doorway


Soon, Assisi was not just for relaxation. After another 48 hours, I became the reactive pilgrim. We went from site to shrine to shop and I reacted to all offered by two marvelous pilgrim leaders, Fr. Tod and Br. Tom:

Fr. Tod & Br. Tom

Outdoor grotto for daily mass

Fr. Tod explains Clare


Somehow, a pilgrimage should allow for reflection. I had moments of reflection but it wasn’t until I found a quiet spot in the woods in the Hermitage of the Carceri that I knew why I went. I did experience a wonderful, reflective pilgrim moment with God.

St. Francis relaxing

Clare modeled a way

Bro. Tom w/Francis' parents


Too soon, this pilgrim came home to her busy but “real life.”

But no longer reluctant.

For more information about my pilgrimage, visit Franciscan Pilgrimages.


About the Author

Barbara Baker works in Marketing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • joanm

    Anxious to hear more, Barbara!