“Anytime anyone sets out from home, it’s a time of rediscovery,” said Sister Sallie Latkovich, CSJ. “Whether it’s a day trip or a pilgrimage, near or far, a journey is always an opportunity to discover God and oneself in new places and new things.”
As director of Bible study and travel programs at the Catholic Theological Union, Sister Sallie has frequent discussions about the spiritual impact of travel.
She has a host of first-hand experiences to draw from too. Once, when she took a train ride home from O’Hare International Airport, a homeless man offered to help with her luggage. “It was a lovely encounter,” she said. “If you are open to it, you can see God in all people and places.”
Her perspective is included in a U.S. Catholic article titled “Five ways to explore your faith on vacation.” In it, Louisiana-based writer Karen Baker describes her pursuit of “thin places.”
If you want to meet God head-on, go to the so-called “thin places”—where the space between heaven and earth collapses. No one knows precisely where the term “thin places” originated, but it seems to have its roots in Celtic spirituality. Many sacred sites around the globe seem to have just this quality.
If you are looking for a spiritually enriching journey, you can travel far or stay close; you can hike up a mountain or fly to the Holy Land; you can serve the poor or feed your kids peanut butter out of the jar. Just remember: God is in all things. Ignatius wouldn’t steer us wrong. Breathe it in, and enjoy the trip. As Sister Sallie Latkovich says, “When you go somewhere new or different, you encounter new epiphanies along the way.”
Listen to Sister Sallie reflect on Pope Francis' encyclical "On Care For Our Common Home" here.