Meet Susan and John Skillen

John Skillen, beginning in 1998 founded and was the director of Gordon College's arts-oriented semester in Orvieto for its first ten years. He now directs the Studio for Art, Faith and History and serves in Gordon's Global Education Department. Over the past 30 years he has led many groups to Italy, England and other parts of Europe as well as directing conferences and seminars in theology and the arts in Italy. 

Susan Skillen is Canon for Spiritual Formation for the Anglican Diocese in New England (ADNE). She began bringing pilgrimage groups to Italy in 2000 and has since led over 20 pilgrimages. She completed training in spiritual direction through the Shalem Institute in 1996 and now trains spiritual directors for the ADNE. During the seven years the Skillens lived in Orvieto, Susan founded and was priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection, the only English speaking church in the city. 

Susan and John have four grown daughters. 

Meet Dianna Kunce and Denise Easter

Dianna Kunce and Denise Easter are Presbyterian pastors, and are Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors for Renewal Ministries Northwest, based in Seattle, WA. They are trained spiritual directors and inner healing prayer ministers. For over 20 years they have led many guided prayer retreats and group spiritual discernment retreats for individuals, congregations, and other groups. They also lead individuals and groups through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. This is the second time they have offered the Contemplatives in Action pilgrimage.

Going on Pilgrimage

A number of years ago a popular book came out that was made into a movie, called  Eat, Pray, Love. The book epitomizes the sort of spiritual journeys that are popular in our culture. They tend to be eclectic journeys, collecting bits and pieces of this and that along the way to add to one's collection of spiritual experience. 

St. Bonaventure, a thirteenth century Franciscan, wrote a book called The Soul’s Journey into God. For Bonaventure, pilgrimage is much more than one's personal wanderings in the realm of spirituality or simply a journey of self-discovery. It is a journey toward a personal and loving God in whom we find our truest life. To be a true pilgrim is to embark deliberately on a journey into God.