Have you been longing to see Assisi? Rome? Now is your opportunity. Join us on this 12 day pilgrimage. This trip we have added Florence to the itinerary. While in Florence we will see Santa Croce Basilica which is the largest Franciscan church in the world. Additionally, we will visit the Accademia museum to see Michelangelo’s David, and the Ponte Vecchio. We will stay two nights in Cortona and see Le Celle, another hermitage of Francis’. Included also will be a full day visiting Gubbio where legend says that Francis encountered the wolf, later in the day traveling to Assisi via Perugia. We will stay four nights in Assisi before traveling to Rome for a four night stay. We are hopeful that on our last day in Rome, for those interested, we can visit St. Peter’s Square for a Papal blessing on Palm Sunday with Pope Francis.
I think of pilgrimage as an intentional journey to put myself in the presence of the holy. It does not happen by accident and it is the intention or purpose that opens me to the encounter with a sacred place. The small windswept island of Iona where Columba came so long ago, monasteries flourished, and an active peace and justice community works today became for me this place of deep encounter–a place where I could come closer to God and God could come closer to me in a time set aside for this purpose. ~Pam Maben
My husband, Dave, and I were fortunate to join the Franciscan Spiritual Center’s “Celtic Spirituality Pilgrimage” to Iona, Scotland, and Ireland in June of 2013. Our Spiritual Guide and knowledgeable story-teller of the rich treasures of Celtic Spirituality was Fr. Kurt Neilson, an Episcopal Priest from Portland, OR, and our Franciscan pilgrimage coordinator was Mary Erickson from the FSC. We were able to rest and renew easily as all our lodging & travel and most meals were arranged as part of the package. Our leaders were especially welcoming and generous in inviting us to travel “lightly” in more ways than one and to pace ourselves by following our own “leadings” in balancing our “alone” time with our “group time”. The “thin places” we visited – places where “the veil between the worlds – physical and spiritual” is more transparent were very deepening and profound. The ruins of early monastic communities told a story of the Celtic influence on Christianity which is renewing itself today. Eucharist service at the restored abbey on Iona and our own group’s informal Eucharist the last evening were highlights. The Holy Wells and Celtic crosses and chapels were especially moving to me, along with a visit to the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. ~Cammie Bella
For years I have dreamed of visiting Ireland, the land of my mother’s ancestors. So, when Mary Erickson told me, in a casual conversation at our local Fred Meyer, that she was planning a pilgrimage to Iona & Ireland, I knew this would be my opportunity to not only see Ireland but to explore another dream- generational healing for my family. There was a grief, yet unadressed, for their loss of home, story and spirit. A grief carried by so many families who left Ireland, not because they wanted this- but to escape famine and poverty.
Little did I know that Iona- this little island where the veil between divine and place is “thin” would help me to achieve my goal- peace for my family and for myself.
On Iona, I spent many hours, both alone and with fellow pilgrims, in the Abbey. Letting the stone walls surround and fill me with ancient energy, memory, story and the presence of God. They way to achieve my dream was simple- all I needed to do was to “be” in Ireland and hear, feel, smell the spirit of this place, to know St. Bridget and the healing water of her well. To welcome Celtic spirituality.
When our ferry sailed from Iona there was a heart sadness. But sadness is a part of grieving and grieving allows us to transform the present moment.
Will I return to Iona? That remains a question of hope. What I know is that I was led there and may be led once again. ~Sunny Graham
Please call the Center at 503-794-8542 if you are interested in joining us.