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Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs is a non-profit ministry of the Assumption BVM Province, Franciscans. During its thirty-six years of existence, it has guided 9,000+ pilgrims from forty-five countries on pilgrimage, facilitating the sharing of spirituality of place and the Francsican vision of life.

The roots of Franciscan Pilgrimage go back to the early 1970's when Damien Isabell OFM, a friar from the Sacred Heart Province (St. Louis), began offering guided Assisi trips to friars. Soon religious sisters and the laity expressed an interest in the pilgrimage. The staff grew from two friars to four and the programs grew from one to three annually.

In the 1980's Damien's life took a direction that did not allow him to manage the expanding pilgrimage office. Roch Niemier OFM, (Assumption BVM Province), became the executive director. His staff grew to five friars and another program was added bringing the total to four annually.

Now with a staff of over thirty, John Cella, as director, is expanding the programs. The experience Francican Pilgrimage Programs was providing was much appreciated, because during the 1990's it grew even more. Staff membership expanded to eight members. Programs offered were six. In answer to Franciscan institutions' request for help, Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs developed leadership programs for Franciscan sponsored institutions. The program for pilgrimage to the California Missions was instituted. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land was added. The need for customized pilgrimage programs increased. Students from colleges, universities and high schools have done pilgrimage. In 2007 there were programs to Ireland and for those who speak Spanish. The Board of Directors took on issues of location for the offices of the Francisan Pilgrimage Programs, fund raising for scholarships, ways of marketing its programs and refining its administrative structure.
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