The Top 7 Books About Pilgrimage

Mel UllrichLast Updated: December 31st, 2019Pilgrims' Stories, Spiritual Reflections

Pilgrimage brings faith, hope, and joy into our lives. Whether you’re planning a pilgrimage yourself or want to read about the experience of others on their sacred journeys, here are some great books that our staff recommends.

1. Hiking the Camino—500 miles with Jesus by Father Dave Pivonka. You can hike the Camino through France and Spain in numerous ways. You don’t have to walk 500 miles to do it. But this priest, now the president of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, did walk that far. His book gives a detailed account of the history of the Camino, his experience, and prayerful ponderings for any pilgrimage journey.

2. City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow by George Weigel. Follow St. John Paul II through his hometown and the culture that made this great saint. If you want more saints of Poland, pick up The Diary of St. Faustina. This is a spiritual gem for anytime of the year and especially if you are traveling to Poland. Both books showcase how Poland became a beacon for God’s mercy.

3. Come and See: A Catholic Guide to the Holy Land by Father Charles K. Samson. Endorsed by Scott Hahn and Cardinal Raymond Burke, this book guides Catholics through the mysteries of Christ’s earthly life with full-color photos, scripture about holy sites, reflections, and helpful history as you walk in the footsteps of Christ.

4. On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day. This year of reflections on Day’s daily life and ministry to the poor is challenging, beautiful, and inspiring – and a perfect companion for one’s journey of faith. Her spirituality and sense of the sacred in everything and everyone she encounters offer insight into the Catholic Worker movement and a challenge to each of us to respond to God’s gifts of love with personal and social transformation. You’ll have to remind yourself that this was written in the 1940s, because so much of what she muses is still applicable today.

5. Great Pilgrims of the Old Testament by Mary Ellen Ullrich. We’re a little biased, since it was written by one of our staff members, but this thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated book will take you on a journey from paradise lost in Genesis to the glory of God’s promises to strengthen our faith. Best of all, you can download it free!

6. Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan. Full disclosure: I am still reading this, but highly recommend it so far. A Pilgrimage to Eternity explores the significance of pilgrimage in our modern times as author Timothy Egan embarks on the Via Francigena, a pilgrimage route which takes him from the Canterbury Cathedral in England to the Eternal City. His pilgrimage is fueled by a desire to meet Pope Francis, whom Egan sees as hope for the Church during its “worst crisis in half a millennium.” We soon learn Egan’s view on the crisis is personal – his own family has been impacted by it. Much like what I hear from the Tekton pilgrims I encounter, Egan begins his pilgrimage seeking God, but ultimately finds himself and must decide how he will live his life differently as a result of his pilgrimage.

7. The Pilgrim's New Guide to the Holy Land by Fr. Stephen Doyle. After traveling to the Holy Land more than 25 times, this book remains our founder’s favorite! This comprehensive guide offers a history of each sacred site, explanations of how different faiths view each site, scripture, songs, and meditations! Father Doyle writes about the major differences between visiting the Holy Land as a pilgrim and as a tourist, or even as a student of history or archaeology. Originally released in 1999 with a second edition printed in 2016, this book is now out of print. (Yes, it’s old, but so is the Holy Land. The word “new” in the title is relative!) But you can still purchase it on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.