Renew your spirit.

A pilgrimage for young adults (must be over 21 to participate).



The great state of Kentucky has made countless contributions to American history and culture. When people think of Kentucky, they might think of some of our greatest pastimes - horse racing, baseball (Louisville slugger, anyone?), UK basketball, bluegrass, and the most hipster one yet - sipping on the world's best bourbon.

Maybe a little less universally known, albeit no less important, one of the most famous Catholic monks and writers of the 20th Century, Thomas Merton, lived the majority of his life in Kentucky. Author of countless books, essays, and poems, Merton's influence was felt around the world in areas from spirituality to peace to civil rights.  Entering the Cistercian Abbey of Gethsemani in rural Kentucky in December 1941, Merton lived a life of prayer, contemplation, and monastic asceticism, while at the same time conversing with the outside world through the written word. This man was the real deal. Maybe you've heard of him.

This pilgrimage will explore two of Kentucky's greatest contributions to the life of the world today - Thomas Merton and the Bourbon Trail. Come "renew your spirit" on this pilgrimage which will explore the intersection of faith and culture, sacred and profane, spiritual and physical refreshment.

This pilgrimage is a collaboration of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Verso Ministries. It is also supported by a generous grant from the Friends of Young Adult Ministry.




Dates of this pilgrimage are:

Friday, July 7 - Sunday, July 9, 2017

Highlights of this pilgrimage include:

  • Pray at the Abbey of Gethsemani, the monastery of Thomas Merton
  • Attend mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky, and visit the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kenctucky.
  • Explore the history and spirits of the Bourbon Trail, with stops at two local distilleries
  • Refresh your spirit with time for prayer, reflection, and spiritual refreshment

The pilgrimage is set to depart at approximately noon on Friday, July 7 (from both Fort Wayne and South Bend) and return about 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 9. Exact pick-up locations and times will be communicated to registered pilgrims.



Pilgrimage package includes:

  • Pilgrimage preparation and follow-up materials
  • A dedicated pilgrimage guide
  • Daily Mass, prayer, and reflection time
  • All events, activities, and donations
  • Round-trip transportation from Fort Wayne or South Bend
  • Most meals
  • Lodging in simple, communal accommodations

Please note: Distillery tours and bourbon tastings are included in the pilgrimage package, but pilgrims are not required to participate.

Pilgrimage package does not include:

  • Some meals (approximately 2 during the trip) and any personal purchases
  • Optional travel insurance
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers



Cost of this pilgrimage is $175.

This pilgrimage is subsidized through the generosity of the Friends of Young Adult Ministry.

Payment Options:

  • Credit card
  • Electronic bank transfer
  • Check or money order (made out to "Verso Ministries LLC")
    • Send to: Verso Ministries LLC
    • P.O. Box 986
    • Notre Dame, IN 46556

Please note:  If you would like to pay by check or money order, please contact us before you register online.

Cancellation Policy:

$50 of the registration fee is non-refundable. Cancelling 30-7 days prior to departure, $80 of the fee is non-refundable. Cancelling 6 days or less no refund is available. Please contact us right away if you need to cancel for any reason.



Registration is first-come, first-serve. All spots are open until filled. Any young adult over the age of 21 (at the time of departure) is welcome to register. Even if you are not from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, you are still welcome to register!

Space is limited so act now and reserve your spot today!



Please feel free to contact us at any time!