Pilgrimage Project

Memorial Church SteepleThis academic year 2019–2020, the Memorial Church invites you to explore with us the ancient practice of pilgrimage, a practice with roots in many religious traditions. Going on pilgrimage can be a transformative experience, opening us to new relationships; bringing us into communion with those who have gone before us; offering us new visions of community; generating new thoughts and ideas; and deepening our attention to the sacred. Join us this year as we explore how we might move through the world more consciously, attentive to the sacred within and around us, awake to the claims that the journeys of others make on our lives.

Fall Semester

Pilgrimage Reading Group

Wednesday evenings, 7–8:30 pm, Seminar Room in the Student Oasis

  • September 18: Kerry Egan, Fumbling: A Journey of Love, Adventure, and Renewal on the Camino de Santiago
  • October 23: Toni Morrison, Home
  • November 13: Matsuo Bashō, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and other Travel Sketches


On Pilgrimage

There will be opportunities to join a pilgrimage throughout the year. Pilgrimages for the Fall semester include:

  • Friday, October 25, 1:30 pm: Pilgrimage to Harvard Art Museums. We will gather at 1:30 pm in the Student Oasis to join Harvard University Choir Secretary May Wang ’20 for a pilgrimage to the “Crossing Lines” exhibit at the Harvard Art Museums. No registration required. 
  • Saturday, October 26, 6:15 am: Intergenerational pilgrimage to Walden Pond. Meet on the steps of the Memorial Church at 6:15 am. We’ll return to Cambridge by 11 am. Brunch included. Please bring a water bottle, comfortable shoes, a notebook, and a pen or pencil. Space is limited to 10. To register, email Memorial Church Seminarian Grace Killian at grace_killian@mail.harvard.edu, and she will get back to you with more information. 
  • Friday, November 1, 1:30 pm: Dia de los Muertos Pilgrimage. We’ll meet in the Student Oasis of the Memorial Church in the afternoon to set our intentions for this pilgrimage. Professor Davíd Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America, will lead us on a pilgrimage culminating in a visit to the Dia de los Muertos altars in the Peabody Museum. Please bring a notebook and a pen or pencil. No registration required.
  • Tuesday, December 3, 7–8:30 pm: Interior pilgrimage. The great Spanish mystical writer, Teresa of Avila, taught the nuns in her care that they could make a journey to their “interior castle” whenever they wanted, without asking anyone’s permission! All are welcome to join us for a pilgrimage within. In the Seminar Room of the Student Oasis. No registration required.

Spring Semester

Pilgrimage Reading Group

Wednesday evenings, 7–8:30 pm, Seminar Room in the Student Oasis

  • February 19: Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim
  • March 25: Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions
  • April 15: Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community