Portals to the Sacred Pilgrimages .... exploring sacred thresholds

What Others Are Saying ....

"What a privilege to share the pilgrim path with fifteen other souls in some of the most beautiful and historic places on earth!"

- Rick Lanier, Portland, OR (Spring 2002 & Summer 2018)

I had been on three pilgrimages before yours. Each was well led and deeply moving, but none of them compared with the deft blend of experiences through which you guided us.
Surely your many years of leading retreats and pilgrimages is one reason. The solidity of your formation as a team is another. A third is the warm relationships that you have developed with many in the places we visited--which both opened doors and demonstrated your love of all of God's children

- Rob Ross, Cambria, CA (Summer 2017)

I don't recall exactly what I was expecting to see/be/do on this pilgrimage ... but what I did not know nor expect, and what astounded and surprised me so grandly, was the leadership's attention to spiritual, aesthetic detail and the vast treasures you provided us from morning until late evening each and every day. The gifts of spiritual nourishment combined with stunning art and rich conversation I have never before in my life experienced. For two weeks yet! I was spoiled to the core.

- Karen Kotoske, Palo Alto, CA (Spring 2015 & 2016)

To borrow from Ernest Hemingway, the pilgrimage was for me "a moveable feast," nourishing heart, soul, mind and body; made all the richer by the friends and companions who shared its bounty!

- Barbara Gatlin, Columbia, SC (Spring 2005)

    Portals to the Sacred allowed me to truly experience the difference between a 'vacation' and a pilgrimage. While past vacations allowed for refreshment and renewal, this pilgrimage called me to face God and myself, and, in the process, I was open to change and it deepened my vocational calling as a Christian.

- Rev. Fr. Tommy Dillon, Baton Rouge. LA (Spring 2011) 

Thank you once again for a pilgrimage of a lifetime. The richness of the experiences you gave us far exceeded our expectations. We will treasure our time and the impact that continues to unfold for years to come.
- Rev. Patricia & David Cunningham, San Francisco, CA (Spring 2017) 

The difference between traveling as a tourist and traveling as a pilgrim is more profound than I ever imagined. Our leaders know this in their bones. They make it possible to enter deeply into the experience by providing a blend of history, story, whimsy, spiritual nudges and invitations to see and touch the holy everywhere. We had the space to be, even while moving and taking in these sacred places and their stories. A graceful beauty surrounded our tours, our meals, our rest and our play.  It was a life changing experience, and a delight. 

    - Rev. Mary Louise McCullough, Nashville, TN (Spring 2015)

Portals to the Sacred: opportunities to connect with the Holy.  Times to soak in sanctuaries bathed in prayer for centuries, to connect historic journeys of faithful with my own, our own.  Celebrating through conversations, food, story, and laughter.  This pilgrimage was what I needed for renewal, for perspective.  I'm grateful to the four leaders, their planning and experience and faith.  I'm delighted to recommend this experience.

   - Rev. Jim Moiso, Portland, OR (Spring 2018)


The pilgrimage to France transformed travel for me ... walking in places where pilgrims have walked for centuries was a profound experience of the sacred.

- Shirley Moore, San Francisco, CA (Spring 2002, 2010 & 2016)

    Open your heart and breathe in deeply as you walk and pray where pilgrims have journeyed for centuries. Under the careful ministry of our leaders, details to prayer cards, liturgy and spiritual ponderings were woven into delightful conversations with others over sumptuous meals and even wine and chocolate tastings. I shall never forget this pilgrimage – especially our time in Taizé. Thank you!

- Rev. Melanie S. Donahoe, San Mateo, CA (Summer 2017)

Portals to the Sacred offers a personalized and in-depth visit to one of creation's most beautiful places - Burgundy - and to some of humankind's most artful work - Romanesque and Gothic churches and the faith that inspired them. And then there's the sumptuous food and wine! But what makes this program unforgettably rich and rewarding are the people, under the guidance of the pilgrim leaders — whose grace, knowledge, enthusiasm, and good humor create and nurture a true pilgrimage of the heart.

- Lindsey Crittenden, San Francisco, CA (Spring 2008)

Visiting historic religious sites and ruins in the towns and cities of Burgundy, France, with a like-minded group of pilgrims for whom prayer and reverence are foundational, all while dining and drinking deliciously in quaint French restaurants — what a blessing and a gift was this pilgrimage! For me, it was the trip of a lifetime, not least because everything was taken care of by our terrific team of four leaders: hotels, transportation, tours, and most meals. This allowed me to focus on the beauty of the countryside, to take in the historical feel of the cities and cathedrals, and to deepen my faith in moments of stillness and devotion. Traveling with a group was much easier than I’d anticipated, as there was ample time for solitude amidst companionable meals and activities. Thank you, thank you!
- The Rev. Fr. Ricardo Avila, Los Gatos, CA (Fall, 2019)

Traveling with other pilgrims, having time to reflect both personally and with others, being cared for so beautifully by the staff - what a gift!

- Diana Aldrich, Sunnyvale, CA (Spring 2004, 2009, 2010)

I, Diane, had wanted to go to France since I was 16. Along came Portals to the Sacred, and it sounded perfect. I, David, decided to come along. But would the pilgrimage meet our expectations? It did – and then some! From art and architecture, food and wine, to worship, cathedrals and other sacred sites, to leadership, pacing and the French countryside, Portals to the Sacred was the trip of a lifetime. We can’t wait to return! 

- Diane Stephens & David Hogue, Evanston, IL (Spring 2010) 

Portals to the Sacred was a transformative experience for me. By allowing the waves of inspiration from God's voice in the stones and fields and cathedrals and food of Burgundy to roll through me, my thinking has been changed on so many aspects of my life. The team who led us made every moment rich in spirituality, history,  prayer, song, and fellowship. This is a journey one must take... the portals are many, and the Sacred is present!

- Peter Drake, San Francisco, CA (Spring 2013)

The pilgrimage to Burgundy, Portals of the Sacred, is one I have longed for over many years of attending Companions on the Inner Way. The experience itself was beyond my greatest expectations; not only the sacred sites we toured, but also the spiritual guidance offered by our leaders and the special hosts we encountered at each and every place, the companionship of the other pilgrims and our conversations - ooh, la la! Not to mention, wonderful accommodations, great food and wine! When first asked upon my return what it was like, I answered, I felt as though I was in a living painting of life, spanning centuries ... the architecture, the art, the rolling hills of the countryside, all blended in harmony to offer a truly spiritual experience. 

                                                        - Rev. Lynda Hyland Burris, Napa Valley, CA (Fall 2019)
What a great thing to have the Pilgrimage Staff have all the arrangements made so that I could simply enter into the experience without a worry. From fascinating local historians and guides to the sumptuous meals, it was the best trip that I have ever taken.

- Rev. Rob Stewart, Chattanooga, TN (Spring 2002) 

The Pilgrimage was spiritually moving, historically riveting, thought provoking, a time to make friends and be a part of a community, a time to learn more about myself, my beliefs, and what is important to me. Being able to walk in the footsteps of pilgrims who came before me was emotional and inspiring. The trip impacted me spiritually and emotionally. I suppose you could say it was life-changing for me, at least spiritually. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of some aspect of the trip: places, people and events.

Jane Parker, Corona del Mar, CA (Spring 2008 & Fall 2019)

It was a great joy to spend time with other pilgrims who were seeking to be faithful to their own spiritual calling. I enjoyed visiting the ancient holy sites that were described as "thin places" (where the sacred and secular are very close together, indeed, almost one). It gave time to ponder the journey of life and reminded me that I am not so different from earlier pilgrims, maybe facing different stresses and problems, but carrying the same deep longing and need for a sacred communion along the way.

                  - Linda McDonald, Columbia, SC (Spring 2005)

The pilgrimage awakened all of my senses: the sight of beautiful flowers everywhere and centuries-old building, the smell of freshly baked breads, the touch of cool stone touched by pilgrims for hundreds of years, the taste of good wine and leisurely gourmet dinners and the gift of solitude, which allowed me to hear God speaking. It was the perfect way to begin my retirement - a baptism into my new life. I can't thank you enough for all you did to make it such an incredibly spiritual experience for me.

                                   - Ann Bright, Irmo, SC (Spring 2006)

It was an adventure, both into places in France I had never visited and also into parts of my soul which were reawakened during the times of prayer reflection. The leadership team enjoys the trip as much as first time pilgrims as they share their knowledge, but also continue to discover new spiritual insights, as well as new restaurants and sights to see. I highly recommend this experience.

- Rev. Joan Huff, San Francisco, CA (Spring 2006, 2011 & 2016)

With Portals to the Sacred, Richard and I visited places — Portals of the Sacred —  that we would never have gone to on our own.  The commissioning ceremony at the start of the pilgrimage in the Baptistery in the Rouen Cathedral was a perfect way to begin our journey. Each day that followed began with a “prayer card” left at our breakfast table to enter the day. The pilgrimage was a good combination of fine dinners and conversation, visiting sacred places, meditation, reflection and gentle travel via van between sacred sites.  We had time to encounter the sites on our own and meditate on the history and the spirit that was ever-present.  It was a fruitful and deep experience for both of us.

                                       - Richard & Jessica Anderson, San Francisco, CA (Summer 2016)