The Pilgrims of St. Francis are an international, ecumenical pilgrimage movement seeking peace. Every year we go on pilgrimage somewhere in Europe. In groups of about 20 people, of all ages, from many European countries, we walk in the countryside for nine days in the spirit of Francis of Assisi, preparing our meals together, staying overnight in very simple accommodation and sharing our faith. On the way we talk about our responsibilities to society and for the environment, about peace and justice and other issues that concern us. Singing, playing, laughter and adventure are also part of our way. For more than 90 years we have tried to develop a better understanding of each other, and to practice tolerance so that we can be more understanding and tolerant in our daily lives
We propose every year:
The International Pilgrimage is the main activity of the Pilgrims of St. Francis. The pilgrimage consists of nine days of walking during which we try to live in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Claire. It is a special time, full of experiences and encounters, where each each of us is invited to live in Franciscan simplicity – a mixture of walks, songs, games, reflections, debates, prayers, community life … and it leaves us unforgettable memories.
The International Chapter is a meeting of the Pilgrims which takes place, annually, at Pentecost. It is a weekend of workshops, discussions, worship, walks – exploring ideas in a variety of ways.
Throughout the year, the UK branch of the Pilgrims organize meetings. It is an opportunity for walking and group discussions, in simplicity and brotherhood.
Two French men, Joseph Folliet and René Beaugey founded the movement in France in 1927. Franz Stock, a young German priest soon joined them. The idea was to form a group of young catholic pilgrims working for peace. The pilgrimages brought together young men from France and Germany spending some time walking together in a spirit of peace thus contributing to Franco-German reconciliation.
The first pilgrimage brought together 20 people but the movement grew very quickly. Young women joined the pilgrimages and then whole families with their children. Over the years pilgrims from other countries also joined including those of other denominations and others exploring their spirituality.
Today activities are organised in different European countries. Pilgrims of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and of differing nationalities walk together and our diversity is one of the valued riches of the movement.