Meet Your Guides

Brad Berglund, MDiv

Spiritual Director
Retreat Director

An author, spiritual director and retreat director, Brad has a degree in theology (Eastern Theological Seminary) and music (classical guitar – Conservatory of Music, UMKC and the Royal Conservatory, Madrid) and has completed the program for spiritual direction at the Shalem Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Currently, he holds two positions: Director of Illuminated Journeys, an organization devoted to the spiritual deepening of individuals and groups through the practice of pilgrimage and retreat leadership, and Leader of The Threshold, a weekly contemplative experience in the style of the Taizé community.

Rita Berglund, MA

Spiritual Director

Serving individuals, children, couples and families in many ways. She serves as a therapist, adjunct professor at Naropa University and Iliff School of Theology, spiritual director and retreat leader. Rita is the author of “An Alphabet about Kids with Cancer” and sees life as a sacred and creative adventure filled with amazing possibilities for each person. 

A Personal Note

The devastating diagnosis in 1989 of a malignant brain tumor in Rita and Brad’s four-year-old son, Brandon, brought a new understanding that all of life is pilgrimage, a journey into the unknown. Brandon died in 2009, twenty years after his diagnosis. The pain, unexpected joy and depth of that 20-year experience became an odyssey of the heart for the whole family and eventually led Rita and Brad to this work as spiritual directors and pilgrimage guides.

In 2018, parts of our story were shared in a very short digital story that Rita created with friends, Pip Hardy and Tony Sumner in Cambridge, Great Britain. They run a wonderful website called “Patient Voices”. The digital story is 7 minutes long. To view, click here.

What is Pilgrimage?

A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose. Every step along the way has meaning. The pilgrim knows that life giving challenges will emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place. New insights are given. Deeper understanding is attained. New and old places in the heart are visited. Blessings are received and healing takes place. On return from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever be quite the same again.

Macrina Wiederkehr,
Behold Your Life, p. 11

"To Journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim." - Mark Nepo

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