Registration Now Open!

This pilgrimage will be strictly limited to 20 registrants 

       

Join us for Thomas Merton’s Interspiritual Journey, a special pilgrimage to Kentucky November 10-16, 2024. Together we will travel to the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey where Merton lived as a monk, and the Festival of Faiths in Louisville. Trappist monk Thomas Merton is considered a giant of 20th-century spirituality. His writing and teaching paved the way for later developments such as Centering Prayer and the growth of interfaith dialogue.

We will travel as a small group of pilgrims to visit places of historical significance for Thomas Merton and immerse ourselves in the contemplative teachings and rhythms that made Merton who he was. While committed to his Catholic Christian faith, he was intensely curious about other religions, Zen Buddhism in particular. On the last portion of the pilgrimage, we will embrace Merton’s interfaith curiosity by attending the annual Festival of Faiths in Louisville, a vibrant celebration of the world’s great religious traditions.

Thomas Merton’s Interspiritual Journey offers Christians and seekers an opportunity to explore interspirituality by walking in the footsteps of an interfaith pioneer. Merton shows us what it looks like to delve so deeply into the roots of a particular religion that we discover the common wellspring that nourishes all spirituality. On this pilgrimage, pilgrims will weave together learning, spiritual practice, and mindful travel in a small community. Before departing for Kentucky, we will meet online to learn about Merton’s life and study key teachings. On pilgrimage, we will learn from Merton experts and meet Trappist monks at Gethsemani Abbey who live as Merton lived. We will regularly engage in practices like contemplative prayer, lectio divina (sacred reading), and the liturgy of the hours — the same practices that shaped Merton’s inner life.

This pilgrimage will take place at a time when much of the world is turning away from ideas and cultures perceived to be different than one’s own. This growth in social, political, and military unrest is fueled by fear of and antagonism towards “the other.” By contrast, Merton allowed his interest in other religions to help him discover that we have more in common with our fellow human beings than we might think and that we’re enriched by learning about spiritual practices different from our own. If your heart is calling you to embrace differences through deeper understanding, this pilgrimage is for you.

The pilgrimage will be led by CSW Director Rob Field, a longtime student of Merton and leader of many pilgrimages, both domestic and abroad. The Center’s most recent pilgrimage was to Greece and Turkey, with two dozen pilgrims traveling with Rob and his team of co-leaders.

Cost for the pilgrimage is $1,595 per person for double occupancy or $1,995 per person for single occupancy. A $300 per person deposit is required to reserve your spot, with the balance due by Sept. 10. Your registration fee covers pre-pilgrimage gatherings and educational materials, 7 nights of accommodations, admission to the Merton Center and Festival of Faiths, and breakfast each day. Registration does not include lunches or dinners, and pilgrims will arrange their own travel to and from Louisville. (The “Early Bird” rate is in effect now through Aug. 15th, after which total costs will rise $200 per person.)

 

REGISTER NOW

 

ITINERARY for Thomas Merton’s Interspiritual Journey & The Festival of Faiths

Saturday, Nov. 9 – Travel Day  pilgrims drive or fly on their own to Louisville & arrive by evening at Fairfield Inn – Louisville Airport

Sunday, Nov. 10 – MERTON CENTER VISIT and DRIVE TO BARDSTOWN, KY

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Drive to Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville. We will be hosted by Asst. Director Mark C. Meade, hear a presentation from Meade about Merton’s Interfaith interests, followed by Q&A. Lunch at Bellarmine Univ.
  • Afternoon: drive to our hotel in Bardstown and  begin following a contemplative rhythm of prayer and lectio divina.
  • Dinner out

Monday & Tuesday, Nov. 11-12 – GETHSEMANI

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • We will spend time at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Merton’s lived as a monk. Together we will enter more deeply into the contemplative rhythms and practices that shaped Merton’s spirituality.

Wednesday, Nov. 13 – BARDSTOWN & LOUISVILLE

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • We will spend the morning in Bardstown, KY sightseeing and eating lunch.
  • Drive to Louisville & get settled into overnight accommodations
  • Dinner in downtown Louisville

Thursday & Friday, Nov. 14 – 15 – FESTIVAL OF FAITHS, LOUISVILLE

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Festival of Faiths at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts (only a five minute walk). Attend Festival of Faiths (2024 theme: “Sacred Imagining”). Enjoy two days filled with presentations, workshops, demonstrations and immersive rituals to illuminate the deep wisdom of the world’s enduring spiritual traditions
  • Dinner in downtown Louisville

Saturday, Nov. 16 – FESTIVAL WRAP UP & DEPARTURE

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Spend the morning at the Festival of Faiths, ending at 12 PM
  • Lunch together in downtown Louisville
  • Depart for the airport or drive home

Registration is limited in the spirit of pilgrimage and to support contemplative practices in community

QUESTIONS? Click here to send pilgrimage leader Rob Field a message.

      REGISTER & pay deposit HERE

      EARLY BIRD RATES through Aug. 15:

      $1,595 for 1 pilgrim sharing a double room

      $1,995 for 1 pilgrim in a single room

      A $300 deposit per person is due at registration (fully refundable through Sept. 9th)

      BALANCE DUE BY SEPT. 10

      Register Now to receive the lowest rates, which go up by $200 per person after Aug. 15th