Millennials on pilgrimage to Merton's Gethsemani Abbey

For: Religion News Foundation
Bardstown, KY
Organizer: Tom Gallagher, CEO
Millennials on pilgrimage to Merton's Gethsemani Abbey (Religion News Foundation)
of $2,500 goal
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Raised by 14 donors

The Story

The Modern Millennial Pilgrimage Project

The Religion News Foundation is pleased to collaborate with Millennials Will Peterson and David Cable, both graduates of the University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame's A.C.E. Teaching Fellowship Program, who are embarking on a 75-mile walking pilgrimage.

Beginning on Saturday, March 25th, 2017, Will and David, who is also an Eagle Scout, will embark on a week long walking pilgrimage starting in Louisville, Kentucky, and traveling some 75 miles on foot to Bardstown, Kentucky, the home of the Abbey of Our Lady at Gethsemani, made famous by the monk, Thomas Merton.  

A prolific author, Merton wrote the book Seven Storey Mountain, An Autobiography of Faith (Harcourt, Inc., 1948), one of the most influential religious works of the twentieth century.

Pope Francis to U.S. Congress September 24, 2015, on Thomas Merton

"Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions."  For more information on Thomas Merton, click here.  

The Importance of hospitality

Hospitality will be a major theme on their journey. In a hostile world, the kindness and warm welcome extended by the host families will serve as a timely reminder of the importance of hospitality as a civic virtue.

Each evening Will and David will be hosted by a family, and on one evening, they will stay at the Room in the Inn, an interfaith-run homeless shelter.

Once in Bardstown, they will stay at the Abbey for two nights and will also spend time at Union Church.

Union Church gets its name from its early use as a place where several Christian denominations worshipped. The 1804 will of Samuel P. Jones directed that his possessions be sold and the money be used to build a church for all Christian denominations. Union Church, the first brick church to be built in the original city limits of Bardstown, was completed around 1812. 

Over the years, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist congregations met at this location until they could build their own churches. Bardstown’s African-American Baptist congregation started to use the building in 1866, took responsibility for its upkeep and changed its name to the First Baptist Church.

Stay connected to Will and David throughout the pilgrimage

Each evening they will post photos and update a travel blog found at the Religion News Foundation website:

The Religion News Foundation hopes to collaborate with millennials and others undertaking a wide variety of pilgrimages during the course of the year.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 30, 2017

Posted on March 30, 2017

Will and David make it Gethsemani Abbey

Posted on March 28, 2017

Posted on March 28, 2017

Here's an update on Will and David's pilgrimage to Gethsemani Abbey:

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Millennials on pilgrimage to Merton's Gethsemani Abbey

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