Footsteps in Rome

Photo by Andrea Ranalli

Photo by Andrea Ranalli

This is the 2015 blog for our Saint Mary’s College pilgrimage to Rome. We are present-day pilgrims walking in the footsteps of the early Christians. As an example of “backpack journalism,” this website gives you a chance to hear our stories, conversations, and insights; along with a viewing of our photos and videos of this remarkable experience. Send us a comment and we’ll pray for you!

Our student-produced radio show is airing on npr.org.  CLICK HERE TO HEAR!

Please also read our articles in The East Bay MonthlyThe Catholic Voice and The Catholic News Herald


An Audience with the Pope: The hottest ticket in town

Fans started queuing up well before dawn. They rushed the gate when it opened, hoping to secure a seat near this man who has burst onto the world stage. Pope Francis is a rock star. His picture is plastered all across Italy and his Wednesday Papal Audiences are a hot ticket in Rome. Continue reading

A Spiritual Transformation before the Madonna of Częstochowa

Photo by Nataly Sanchez

Photo by Nataly Sanchez

I have long searched for Christ in my life and I struggle with practicing religion. Yet, I chose to go on a pilgrimage to Rome with 16 other students, a journalist, and two priests. I have not been doing anything relatively religious since I started college, with the exception of Ash Wednesday and Easter mass. Even then, I was waiting for the mass to be over with so I could go on with my schoolwork or see a friend.

Continue reading

Assisi: The Spirit of Saint Francis Then and Now

Our pilgrimage to the medieval village of Assisi was filled with prayer, laughter and friendship. We spent much of the day with two Franciscan monks – who showed us what it’s like to live joyfully for Christ. Spend a few minutes and let our video and radio podcast take you to the home of Saint Francis:

Videography by Ginny Prior, Production by Mitchell Woodrow.


Rather have radio? Here’s Hope Blain narrating a short podcast from Assisi:


Following in the Footsteps of Early Christians: A Spiritual Transformation

photo 3This pilgrimage has been full of wonderful people, impeccable food, creamy gelato, and LOTS of walking. In the midst of these lovely elements, enriching our faith has been the main focus.  I can’t find the words to describe how amazing it has been to celebrate mass and nurture our faith in ancient churches where  apostles and saints are buried.

Continue reading

Journey to Subiaco

Subiaco is a town in the Province of Rome, in Lazio, Italy, 40 kilometres from Tivoli alongside the river Aniene. The Monastery of St. Benedict enshrines Benedict’s cave. Pilgrims can stay just below the monastery at the Saint Scholastica Retreat Center,

Producer – Mitchell Woodrow, Photographer – Natalie Derksen, Go Pro videographer – Ginny Prior. Thanks to all SMC Pilgrims who contributed to this video.