In 1969, Fr. Dick Perl, SJ, “pioneered the revival of Jesuit pilgrimage” when he took a 10-week journey from St. Louis to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and back again. His novice director sent him on his way with $150 and a small pack. Fr. Perl shares the story of his pilgrimage and concludes:
One of the basic thrusts that Ignatius had for his novices when he sent them out with no money was: “God will provide.” And how God did provide for me. Whether it was a ride when I was hitchhiking, food when I was hungry or a place to lay my head at night, the Lord always delivered.
Perl’s trip included a night on the porch of a hardware store in Kentucky, threats of jail in Mississippi, a shrimping job in the bayous of Louisiana, hopping trucks and freight trains, and experiencing the generosity of strangers. Read his story here.
The pilgrimage experiment, where novices are sent to different destinations with $5 and a bus ticket, is now a regular part of Jesuit formation. The goal is practicing trust in God.