Lisa Deam: We Are All Pilgrims

Sister Julia Walsh and author Lisa Deam talk about pilgrimage as a spiritual practice and discipleship as a journey. They discuss the paradoxes of faith and being a contemplative, where we are called to be in the moment, while also moving toward God. And they share how loving history and being part of the Church is relational, messy work.

Meat

When I walked the Camino de Santiago, I survived on a steady diet of ham sandwiches and beer. I subjected my body to a pack that weighed more than was healthy for my frame, moved my feet over miles of terrain, felt my muscles fatigue and my flesh blister and bleed. Every day, somewhere alongContinue reading “Meat”

We’re standing on holy ground

We arrive at the memorial already soaked. The rain has been pouring down for about an hour, making our one little umbrella woefully insufficient for our entire group. We huddle in the cab, unwilling to take that first step out into the dark, wet city. We are five Catholic sisters from different corners of theContinue reading “We’re standing on holy ground”

The Holy Mountain

Last summer my partner and I spent a month in Ireland. Below is a reflection I wrote after climbing Croagh Patrick, an ancient pilgrimage site where St. Patrick was said to have fasted for 40 days in the 5th century. Up the holy mountain. Following a stream of stones and prayers into the mist. TheContinue reading “The Holy Mountain”

From stone to flesh

Weeks before departing for my Holy Week Camino pilgrimage in April, I am out for one of my practice walks. Bundled into layers of winter clothing, I cross through muddy, grayish-tan grass crusted partly by winter’s snow melting into the thawing ground. It is Lent: the season of awakening, of emergence, of spring. I amContinue reading “From stone to flesh”

I Walked into Suffering on the Road to Santiago

“For as long as humans have walked, they have walked to get closer to their gods.” The words appear on top of a PBS website in white upon a black background—an over-simplified truth, smacking with arrogant certitude. At least that’s the way it feels to me when I stare at the screen just a fewContinue reading “I Walked into Suffering on the Road to Santiago”

Redefining faith on El Camino

Since high school, I’ve been teaching the Christian faith to others. In parishes, classrooms, and while camping in the woods, I’ve taught songs, explained Bible stories, instilled virtues and asked students to memorize definitions and lists. And, occasionally, over the years, a thoughtful youngster in one of those settings would interrupt my enthusiastic lectures andContinue reading “Redefining faith on El Camino”

Praying with my feet: called to El Camino

For over a thousand years, millions of pilgrims have walked across Spain to the Catedral de Santiago (Cathedral of St. James). During Holy Week, I will become one of those pilgrims. This Lent, much of my energy and prayer has been focused on preparing for this pilgrimage. During this, I have found that God hasContinue reading “Praying with my feet: called to El Camino”

St. Francis Day Photos

Worldwide Franciscans like me are celebrating the founder of our order today. On the eve of this day, in 1226 St. Francis of Assisi died and went to heaven. Last night we celebrated the Transits to memorialize this sacred story. Today we remember and honor St. Francis’ story and contributions to the Church. Through his witness 800 years ago,Continue reading “St. Francis Day Photos”

A Visit to The Simple Way

Earlier this summer I was fortunate to be able to make a pilgrimage-of-sorts to The Simple Way, a Christian community in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia described as “a web of subversive friends conspiring to spread the vision of ‘Loving God, Loving People, and Following Jesus’ in our neighborhoods and in our world.” Like many thousands ofContinue reading “A Visit to The Simple Way”