Pilgrimages

A Look Back at 2021 – Pilgrimage guide books and the actual start of something!

Inflation. Supply chain problems. At every turn this seems to cause countless roadblocks. The printing industry is no exception. What that means for me is printing pilgrimage books at an affordable price is challenging right now. 2022 is not off to a great start.

So instead I’m going to take a look back to 2021 for a moment.

Actually, let’s go back to 2017 and the first time my husband and I and our four small children visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida.

It was just a few months following Hurricane Matthew, which wrecked havoc on coastal north Florida where the shrine is located (repairs are still ongoing). So the shrine was not at it’s best, but the beauty and the sacredness of that holy ground was still overwhelming.

It’s difficult to put into words, but that day brought such peace into the hearts of my little family. It had been an especially challenging time for us, but spending time together at the spot where people had been seeking the love of our heavenly mother for over 400 years undoubtedly soothed our souls.

At the end of our little pilgrimage, I still remember strolling around the gift shop thinking how very much I wished to create a Little Pilgrim book for them. For a few years up to that point I had been dreaming up and jotting down ideas for creating beautiful and engaging resources for kids at the sacred sites we visited. Sort of like the Jr. Ranger program at the National Parks that my kids just loved. But unlike the Jr. Ranger program, it needed to be a way to help kids grow spiritually too!

Fast forward back to 2021… I finally ran out of excuses to give the Holy Spirit, and decided to at least start creating these resources as best I could and learn the ropes of starting a small business. Of course, creating a pilgrimage guide for The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche was at the top of my list! Little did I know that the coming months would have my little book completed and in front of the eyes of the Most Reverend Felipe Estévez, Bishop of St. Augustine, who gave wonderful feedback and officially approved the final manuscript. Then the book was actually in print and on the shelves of that little bookstore at Our Lady’s shrine in time for her canonical coronation in October!

That was just the beginning.

2021 led to incredible creative growth and know-how, and tons of research that also resulted in a book for kids to learn about and grow spiritually at cathedrals and/or basilicas in the United States. I was also able to create a book for another shrine – the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey.

Alongside writing these three books, and venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, I was able to meet some really wonderful fellow Catholics doing just amazing work in the world. It’s been one of my favorite aspects of this job.

All in all 2021 was a challenging, and oftentimes painful period of growth, but it also abounded with countless grace and blessings.

As 2022 unfolds, please keep The Little Pilgrim in your prayers. I’m hoping to create even more pilgrimage resources for the children in your life, as well as navigate the chaos of the printing world.

Let me know if there is anything specific you are hoping to see from The Little Pilgrim in the future! Your support and encouragement is always very much appreciated!

God bless you,

Theresa

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