Lourdes University, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, celebrates its Catholic Franciscan heritage by participating in an annual student pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, Italy. On Friday, December 27, Katie Goliver and Steve Sczesny will join a group of 32 students representing 11 states across the U.S. as part of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities (AFCU) Student Pilgrimage Program.

During the 11- day trip, the pilgrims will visit several historical landmarks and take time for reflection as they follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. Stops on the pilgrimage include:

Assisi, Italy
Piazza Comune, Basicilica of St. Francis, Basilica of St. Clare, Chiesa Nuova, San Damiano Porziuncola, San Rufino
Rieti Valley
Greccio La Foresta
Rome, Italy
Basilica of St. Peter, St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Wall, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Sistine Chapel, The Vatican

“St. Francis and St. Clare come alive in Assisi for our students. They almost expect to run into them as they walk to the shrines and sites that were significant in the saints’ lives.  Students come back with a new understanding of the joy and the cost of Franciscan discipleship. And they have strong models in Francis and Clare,” Sr. Ann Carmen, Vice President for Mission & Ministry, notes of the pilgrimage.

Katie Goliver is a junior majoring in art history with a minor in psychology. A Perrysburg resident, she graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Toledo prior to attending Lourdes. On campus, Katie has contributed to the Pre-Art Therapy Association and Orbis Ars (student art organization) and is one of the founders of Lourdes’ student newspaper The Vitruvian. She has also served as a tutor and is a member of the choir.

“There are so many opportunities in a journey like this to better understand my own faith, but I am most excited to bring the pilgrimage back home with me. Travelling to Assisi is not something that can happen in isolation; it is the gift of the Sisters of St. Francis to send us there, and my hope is to return with spiritual gifts for the entire Lourdes community,” shares Katie.

Steve Sczesny is a senior majoring in nursing. A Portage resident, he graduated from St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo prior to attending Lourdes. On campus, Steve is a science tutor that works with many students at Lourdes. “Through this pilgrimage, I hope to get a better understanding of the life and message of St. Francis,” shares Steve.

Views from Franciscan Pilgrimage

Founded in 1997, the mission of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities is to provide a forum for dialog and to foster and facilitate collaboration among its members who are working to advance Catholic Franciscan higher education. Find out more about AFCU’s Franciscan pilgrimage online at www.franciscanpilgrimages.com.