At its heart, the journey of each life is a pilgrimage, through unforeseen sacred places that enlarge and enrich the soul. – John O’Donohue

Anyone who has visited my blog in the past will notice a redesign of my site. I wanted this space to better represent where I am right now in my life and the kind of inspirational writing I hope to do here.

I named my blog “The Second Pilgrimage” for a few reasons.

First it speaks to the period of time following my pilgrimage to Spain. I walked the Camino de Santiago – from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Muxia, Spain – praying for peace and healing, but felt nothing. My life changed upon my return home. I was unable to work in the way I previously had, so I volunteered at a nursing home facility and at a horse farm that offers therapeutic riding to persons with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. I unplugged from the noise of the world and spent hours of each day in silence. 

A recovering overachiever, I was humbled in a way that forced a new perspective. I knew the pain I felt during that stretch could either produce wisdom or bitterness. Although there was plenty of the latter, my time in the desert resulted in a metanoia, a purifying of the heart that did include peace and healing.

The name also signifies a new chapter in my life. I recently went back to school to become a chaplain, am getting ready to send my youngest child to college, and have entered my fifties with all the joys of gray hair, poor vision, and memory lapses. I started riding horses and unsubscribed from junk news. I have followed a curious calling to provide spiritual support to seniors, and have decided to write in a way that is less about my story and more about the human story.

The logo is intentional, too. The scallop shell is the symbol of the Camino, appearing on signposts, buildings, and pathways en route to Santiago. One of its meanings is the reminder that there are many paths to the center. Our faith may be our foundation, but all the detours we take to arrive at peace and healing aren’t wasted adventures. They are part of our pilgrimage.

My reflections on this page hope to present a theology of surrender, hope, and new beginnings pulling from my new experiences as a chaplain, a volunteer at the horse farm, and a woman greeting her more seasoned years. “The Second Pilgrimage” is a blog about recognizing the holy places along our life journey and mustering up the courage and patience to kneel there for awhile.

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30 Responses
  1. Lois Tegethoff

    You most likely will not remember me. But I went to SMC in 1966. I have had a wonderful spiritual journey. After 5 careers i was called to be a chaplain. I say called because I wanted to do business development for Ireland. I love Ireland and will leave St Louis for Ireland in May!🎉

  2. Lois Tegethoff

    You most likely will not remember me. But I went to SMC in 1966. I have had a wonderful spiritual journey. After 5 careers i was called to be a chaplain. I say called because I wanted to do business development for Ireland. I love Ireland and will leave St Louis for Ireland in May!🎉

  3. Amy Freeman

    I am so very glad to get this post!! and to catch up on your life
    I am grateful to hear that things are moving forward for you and look forward to reading your posts

  4. Lynne

    So delighted to hear from you again. I wish you well on your journey and feel grateful to have found you over fifteen years ago. You words have had a way of making me feel less alone.

  5. Kelly

    Therese- I am so happy to see this newest blog post!! You have been on my mind and in my thoughts and prayers, as always — but especially over the last couple of months. What a joy to see animal in my Inbox.
    I cannot wait to read whatever comes next.

    Sending so much love,

    K

  6. Ron Barrett

    Hey Kiddo!
    I was thinking in prayer recently that it would be good to hear from you.
    It is good!
    It seems that you have reached the place where you can do the most to serve God, to glorify Him! There is unworldly peace in that place.
    Full time writing seems such a lonely vocation. Lonlieness does not serve those of us well, even though at times, we desire it almost overwhelmingly.
    I have worked with seniors in the past as as Activities Director. It is a most rewarding position.
    Well, I’m not gonna get all tickled, (not very macho 😉), about your new post, but knowing that prayers are being answered is sweet.
    So, what’s next?!!!

  7. Monica Chapman

    I am so happy tohear/read from you! You have been and are in my daily prayers – blessings to your new ministries! 🙂

  8. Cherlyn

    Dear Theresa, so glad you are doing well and working on loving you and accepting the limitations which we all face whether through illness or maturity. You are an amazing person and an inspiration to so many people. May God richly bless you and your family.

  9. Jude

    Thank you Therese! It is so good to hear from you again! Congratulations for following your heart in new ways, I look forward to reading your new blog!

  10. Maria De santis

    Dear Theresa how wonderful to hear from you again after such a long time ,I have missed your writings so very much .You are such an inspiration to many ,keep doing what is right for you and what brings you peace and growth

    1. Julie

      I’m so happy for your new journeys. Hoping that I can find peace with your shared wisdom and courage. I’m grateful for your writings 🙏

  11. Mary

    Therese, I cannot express my gratitude on finding you again, reading your words and waiting to hear more from you on your second pilgrimage. The wisdom you share is so meaningful. Needing noise and activity in life to drown out the quiet is something I am familiar with and ultimately it produces nothing. Sitting and waiting for God’s guidance is hard but needed. Thank you for helping to make me too feel less alone. May God bless you for your strength, courage and willingness to help.

  12. Donna Richie

    You are wonderful. I admire, respect, and love you. You were such a help to me when I was going through one of my many ‘depression/anxiety spells’. You go, Girl!!!

  13. Lisa

    Therese, I had you on my mind for sometime and wondered how you were along with missing your writing.

    I love the symbolism of the scallop shell and never knew of it.

    I love your new chapter of your pilgrimage in life you are starting and look forward to hearing more from you.

    I know this is a lot to ask but if you feel so inspired or inclined…is there anyway you might do a Novena to St. Therese on my behalf for emotional and physical healing?

    Thank you.

  14. Frank Hulse

    Hi Therese! It’s been a good while so I was very happy to see The Second Pilgrimage pop up a bit ago. All the best to you. I think the chaplaincy is a wonderful calling. Take good care and, again, all the best! Frank

  15. Angela

    It is lovely to hear from you again. I’m excited to hear about your life now. I’m currently going through an extremely rough time in life full of change, endings and loss, while also navigating aging and figuring out how to make the best out of the years I have left. I welcome hearing about your process to get to a higher ground, so to speak. Your honesty has always been so helpful to me. In these difficult times, we need voices like yours more than ever.

  16. Hurrah Therese! You are loved. I’m delighted, relieved and eager to hear from you!
    Bravo for you for taking care of your Beautiful self & demonstrating what healthy self-care looks like.
    I’ll be gobbling up your every word.

  17. Shelley

    So glad that you started blogging again. I especially like the spiritual aspects, about faith, and our journey. I just retired, so perfect timing. Thanks so much!

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