So many reasons to go on pilgrimage this year with the Oxford Carmelites

As anyone will tell you, pilgrimage is about transformation. It’s about making us more like Jesus Christ.

This is what both Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross set out to do in their writings such as Teresa’s Way of Perfection and John’s Living Flame of Love. Indeed, there’s no more powerful way to understanding their life transforming teaching than by experiencing their world first-hand. Likewise, pilgrimages to the Holy Land bring the Bible alive in an absolutely unique way.

Every year The Carmelites at Chilswell Priory, Oxford run highly popular planned and guided retreat-pilgrimages to the great European centres associated with Carmelite spirituality, including Segovia (St John of the Cross), Lisieux and Fatima (St Thérèse of Lisieux) and Ávila (St Teresa of Ávila).

“Each day of the retreat-pilgrimage there is a planned itinerary in the mornings, involving powerful presentations from the retreat leaders designed to integrate all you’re experiencing into your interior life, followed by a guided visit to a place of interest in the environs,” said Fr Alexander Ezechukwu, Prior at Chilswell Priory.

“During our time together we hope to explore various themes which arise from the scriptures or our saints’ writings whilst placing them in the unique setting within which we find ourselves. Our retreat-pilgrimages will not leave you the same!”

Why go on a Carmelite pilgrimage? They’re simply unique!

  • Learning & prayer are at the forefront of all Carmelite Pilgrimages – alongside time to rest!
  • Carmelite friars will be your pilgrim guides. They are experts in Carmelite Spirituality and will teach on the graces of the Virgin Mary.
  • You’ll spend time learning and praying and return refreshed and enriched
  • You’ll experience first-hand the world of Teresa and John and gain insights to their teachings in a unique way
  • You’ll receive nightly uploads of “Pilgrimage Videos” so family and friends can follow your pilgrimage
  • You’ll have a scripture scholar and a expert in Carmelite spirituality along to bring the Bible to life at every site.

2024 Carmelite pilgrimages available to book now include:


17th -23rd April 2024

Come wander with us through Spain in the company of John of the Cross, the great mystic and poet. We will travel to many of the places where he lived out his life, but what we are most looking for is a glimpse of the divine union that burned in his heart and about which he sang in his Spiritual Canticle.

Visiting these holy places will awaken in you anew the realization that the lives of John and Teresa, though gone before us marked with the sign of faith, live on well beyond their earthly departure. The living examples of their disciples striving to keep alive the flame of fidelity, the inspiration of their words, and the vibration of their very presence.


8th – 14th May 2024

In celebrating the centenary of St. Therese of Lisieux, we make this journey in the praise of God’s glory. The God who formed His little daughter into a replica of his masterpiece, Mary Immaculate. At age six Therese wrote, “I want to be a very good girl. The Blessed Virgin is my dear Mother and little children usually resemble their mother.” Therese became, as it were, a reflection of the Blessed Virgin by her perfect imitation of her virtues. It is pre­cisely Mary’s hidden virtues, living the “yes” of Mary in her ordinary life at Nazareth, which are echoed in the life and writings of St. Therese.

During this pilgrimage with St. Therese we will explore her singular devotion to Mary. Pondering on her beautiful poem, “why I Love you O Mary”, we will discover a renewed love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayerfully journey to Our Lady’s Shrine in Fatima where we’ll renew our love and devotion to her.


10th – 16th October 2024

AVILA WITH US. On each day of the retreat-pilgrimage there will be a planned itinerary in the mornings involving powerful presentations from the retreat leaders designed to integrate all you’re experiencing into your interior life, followed by a guided visit to a place of interest in the environs.

If you would like to know about these exciting and inspiring opportunities to deepen your Christian faith and your understanding of the life and teaching of the great Carmelite saints, please click here: