Pilgrimage & Travel

In the Footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare:

A Pilgrimage to Assisi

April 4-14, 2018

Can you imagine entering a sacred space of beauty and deep spiritual inspiration? How would it feel to step away from the fast-paced life and immerse yourself in a timeless world of rolling hills, cobblestone streets and inspirational art?

Come with us to the awe-inspiring town of Assisi where pilgrims have sought wisdom for centuries.  Experience the culturally-rich birthplace of the thirteenth-century saints Francis and Clare, and walk in their footsteps through the beautiful landscapes of Umbria and Tuscany.

As you journey to the sacred sites where the saints sought clarity and spiritual sustenance, you may find your connection to the divine grow stronger and see your own life with renewed vision.  Open yourself to the possibilities of transformation as you draw on the natural beauty of this land and the spiritual imprint left by the saints.

More information can be found at: http://shalem.org/programs/pilgrimages/assisi/

Program Leaders:

Margaret Benefiel, Ph. D., Executive Director of the Shalem Institute, has led or co-led seven previous pilgrimages to Italy. As a Quaker and a spiritual director, she finds great inspiration from Saints Francis and Clare. Dr. Benefiel is also a teacher and retreat leader and has served in various leadership roles in Spiritual Directors International and as Chair of the Academy of Management’s Management, Spirituality, and Religion Group. She is the co-chair of the Christian Spirituality Group of the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Benefiel is the author of Soul at Work (Seabury, 2005) and The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision(Morehouse, 2010). She has also written for The Leadership Quarterly, Management Communication Quarterly, Managerial Finance, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Organization, Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Personal Excellence, America, Presence, The Way, Studies in Spirituality, Radical Grace, and Faith at Work.

Rachel Guaraldi works as an interfaith hospital chaplain in the Boston area and coordinates and trains Spiritual Caregiving Volunteers at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services. She also is a member of Shalem’s Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program, Class of 2017. Experiences of pilgrimage and journey are important narratives in her life, and alongside her faith, these experiences contribute to her foundational belief in the resilience and healing possibility in all of us. She has a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from Towson University and a Master’s of Arts in Religion from the Earlham School of Religion and is a member of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting in Boston.

Chuck McCorkle, MSW has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts and has long felt a strong spiritual connection with art and contemplative practice. In the mid 1980s, he relinquished his privileged role in the studio to follow a vocational calling to do AIDS work. In retirement, the call to service brought him to Sierra Leone to provide mental health support to an Ebola Response Team. To find balance and to feed the spirit, he has volunteered at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Phillips Collection, and the National Gallery of Art. During his first pilgrimage to Assisi he was struck by the rich diversity of sacred space and visual art associated with Francis and Clare, all of which deepened his experience of prayerful renewal. He has collaborated with Margaret Benefiel in past workshops on prayer and forming spiritual support groups.