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The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within

Author: Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE, OBLSB
Ave Maria Press
Publication date:
May 7, 2015

by Spirituality and Practice



The renowned author of eight books and abbess of the online retreat center Abbey of the Arts, Christine Valters Paintner takes readers on a new kind of pilgrimage: an inner journey to discover the heart of God. Eight stages of the pilgrim’s way–from hearing the call to coming home–are accompanied by scripture stories of great biblical journeys and the author’s unique and creative practices of prayer, writing, and photography.

As she did in The Artist’s Rule and Eyes of the Heart, Christine Valters Paintner once again helps readers travel to the frontiers of their souls to discover the hidden presence of God. In The Soul of a Pilgrim, Paintner identifies eight stages of the pilgrim’s way and shows how to follow these steps to make an intentional, transformative journey to the reader’s inner “wild edges.” Each phase of the exploration requires a distinct practice such as packing lightly, being uncomfortable, or embracing the unknown. Paintner shows how to cultivate attentiveness to the divine through deep listening, patience, and opening oneself to the gifts that arise in the midst of discomfort.

Each of the eight chapters offers reflections on the themes, a scripture story, an invitation to the practice of lectio divina, and a creative exploration through photography and writing.

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Praise for the Book

"This creative, moving book beckons the pilgrim into the inner journey through daily life. Deeply grounded in creative spiritual practices, it is both a guidebook and an inspiration."
Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook
Author of Pilgrimage--The Sacred Art
"Of all the books that Christine Paintner has written, this is by far my personal favorite. To refer to it as a comprehensive manual for the journey doesn't do justice to the incredible richness of its resources. It definitely reawakened the inner pilgrim in me!"
Wil Hernandez, Obl. OSB
Founder and Executive Director,
"Making our own pilgrimage to the heart inside our heart is perhaps the most challenging and yet most rewarding journey we can make. The Soul of a Pilgrim is the perfect companion to have in our pocket along the way."
Bruce Davis, Ph.D.
Author of The Heart of Healing
"Christine Valters Paintner and her husband John beckon the reader toward a transformative way of pilgrimage. Poetry, practices, and midrash weave this wisdom into daily life."
Mary C. Earle
Author of Marvelously Made: Gratefulness and the Body
"Christine Valters Paintner's latest work is an invitation to take leave of the familiar and go on pilgrimage--not necessarily by traveling abroad, but by simplifying one's life, letting go of pre-conceived and perhaps deeply rooted notions, and opening oneself up to the Spirit of wisdom in one's heart. Complemented by the scriptural reflections of her husband, John, and her own creative poetry, this marvelous book takes the reader on a journey of discovery that can profoundly change the direction of one's life."
Edward Sellner
Author of Pilgrimage: Exploring a Great Spiritual Practice
"Because Paintner is a spiritual director herself, she seems keenly aware of the questions that true pilgrims of the spiritual life ask, hold, and seek. . . Interspersed are the author's thought-provoking poems and prayers, yet another opportunity to get a glimpse of her unusual life. . . This book like Paintner's others, is about process. That is, it is meant to be savored and practiced with deliberation, not skimmed, or read all at once. . . This book is testimony to the author's deep listening, total commitment to the pilgrimage within, and her willingness to share the gifts that she has received along the road."
Donna Erickson Couch
in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction
"For those who appreciate thoughtful writing that encourages a look inward, without the nose rub into our imperfections or improvement that might only come with severe discipline and Herculean achievement, The Soul of a Pilgrim will not disappoint. The latest writing of Benedictine oblate, artist, and spiritual director Christine Paintner, beckons us to pilgrimage, not simply travel but seeking: a creative exploration of our interior life, trusting the wisdom and current of Spirit as we journey in the loving presence of God."