‘Book Review // Pilgrimage of a Soul’ :: by Gisele Nelson :: from ‘Plywood People’


Published by: Gisele Nelson
November 15, 2010

I read a book this Summer by Phileena Heuertz called Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life.  I thought it would be appropriate because a. I’m Spiritual and b. I’m active.

Contemplation and action seem often to be two verbs that produce a tention in my life that I struggle to know what to do with.  How do I bring together seeming opposites?  How do I leave space for both without shutting one down in order to make room for the other?  Phileena very beautifully weaves her story of struggle, of an actual pilgrimage, and of some make-or-break moments into something very readable and understandable.

I was challenged with the amount of research she did of others living hundreds of years before us living in the same struggle.  It was encouraging that it is not merely our modernity and increased technology that causes the tension.  It’s something that others have struggled through for hundreds of years.

As I read about the physical struggle of her Pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain paralleled with her spirituality it increased understanding of the journey because sometimes we can better process our spirituality in light of something physical.  It gives legs, so to speak, to the intangibles of something so internal. Learning to live one’s spirituality amidst a busy lifestyle is something each individual has to learn based on trial and error, learning one’s limits, and being open to making room for what’s most important.

If you have ever found yourself smack dab in the middle of a desire for contemplative living while feeling that you have no room for anything else, you might find some treasures of insight from Phileena’s journey.

‘Book Review // Pilgrimage of a Soul’ :: by Gisele Nelson :: from ‘Plywood People’