Pilgrimage

My Search for the Real Pope Francis

Publisher: Random House
A down-to-earth and deeply intimate portrait of Pope Francis and his faith, based on interviews with the men and women who knew him simply as Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Early on the evening of March 13, 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and did something remarkable: Before he imparted his blessing to the crowd, he asked the crowd to bless him, then bowed low to receive this grace. In the days that followed, Mark K. Shriver—along with the rest of the world—was astonished to see a pope who paid his own hotel bill, eschewed limousines, and made his home in a suite of austere rooms in a Vatican guesthouse rather than the grand papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace. By setting an example of humility and accessibility, Francis breathed new life into the Catholic Church, attracting the admiration of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

In Pilgrimage, Shriver retraces Francis’s personal journey, revealing the origins of his open, unpretentious style and explaining how it revitalized Shriver’s own faith and renewed his commitment to the Church. To help us understand how Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, Shriver travels to Bergoglio’s native Argentina to meet with the people who knew him as a child, as a young Jesuit priest, and as a reformist bishop. Shriver visits the confessional where Bergoglio first felt called to a faith-based life and takes us to the humble parish where the future pontiff’s pastoral career began: in a church created from a converted vegetable shed in an area just outside the city of Buenos Aires. In these impoverished surroundings, Bergoglio answered Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, following the example set by his papal namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

In this deeply reported yet highly personal book, Mark K. Shriver explores how Francis's commitment has struck a chord in the hearts of millions who long to make faith, love, humility, and mercy part of their lives as they go out into the world to serve and learn from the most marginalized.

Praise for Pilgrimage

“Well-researched . . . Pilgrimage shines a light on [Pope Francis’s] unexplored aspects. . . . A very timely and important addition to the literature on the life and person and thinking of Pope Francis. Everybody interested in Pope Francis will enjoy reading this biography.”The Washington BookReview

“Apt to stir the soul of readers . . . While this is a rich telling of Bergoglio’s life and ascension to the papacy, it is more movingly a spiritual memoir that draws us deep into a knowing of this at once humble and soul-stirring rekindler of faith.”Chicago Tribune

“A fascinating portrait of a man and a nourishing account of spiritual yearning.”Booklist

“This fast-paced and fascinating tale takes us on Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s pilgrimage from his grandmother’s knee in the Italian-Argentine community, through years of success and sorrow in the tumultuous country that he loved, to his surprise election as Pope Francis.”—Cokie Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848–1868 

“All people of good faith, including those whose lives are not guided by religious beliefs, will be inspired and enlightened by the compelling manner in which Pilgrimage brings us closer to the heart and mind of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis. I highly recommend this book; it will make a difference in your life.”—Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.

READ AN EXCERPT

1 Rosa

Many of us who have an interest in our families’ immigrant pasts have visited the port or the town where our forebears arrived, lived, worked, and struggled. We try to imagine the day of their arrival, the weather, the smell, the crowds, the anxiety. I have wandered the streets of Boston looking at...
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PRAISE FOR

“Well-researched . . . Pilgrimage shines a light on [Pope Francis’s] unexplored aspects. . . . A very timely and important addition to the literature on the life and person and thinking of Pope Francis. Everybody interested in Pope Francis will enjoy reading this biography.”The Washington BookReview

“Apt to stir the soul of readers . . . While this is a rich telling of Bergoglio’s life and ascension to the papacy, it is more movingly a spiritual memoir that draws us deep into a knowing of this at once humble and soul-stirring rekindler of faith.”Chicago Tribune

“A fascinating portrait of a man and a nourishing account of spiritual yearning.”Booklist

“This book will especially appeal to those who want to learn more about Francis’s origins. . . . While many good books have been written about Pope Francis . . . Shriver’s conversations with many of the people who knew Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina and were willing to relate personal details about their relationship with him set this book apart.”Library Journal (starred review)

“This fast-paced and fascinating tale takes us on Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s pilgrimage from his grandmother’s knee in the Italian-Argentine community, through years of success and sorrow in the tumultuous country that he loved, to his surprise election as Pope Francis. Mark K. Shriver finds himself on his own pilgrimage as he comes to understand the role of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—in shaping the charismatic pontiff. Then, with smart subtlety, Shriver shows how the fundamental fact of faith makes pilgrims of us all.”—Cokie Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848–1868 

Pilgrimage provides a new and important perspective on Pope Francis, garnered from extensive interviews with the people who have been closest to the Holy Father throughout the course of his life. All people of good faith, including those whose lives are not guided by religious beliefs, will be inspired and enlightened by the compelling manner in which Pilgrimage brings us closer to the heart and mind of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis. I highly recommend this book; it will make a difference in your life.”—Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap.
 
“One American’s quest to grasp the essence of what makes Pope Francis tick becomes a compelling journey into new depths within the author’s soul. In Argentina, Shriver meets all the right people, and as they open up to him, Francis gradually shifts into focus. Funny, wise, insightful, and skillfully penned, Pilgrimage deserves to be ranked among the best books on the greatest leader of our age. I really enjoyed it.”—Austen Ivereigh, author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope
 
“This is a book for the man in the street who wants to know, ‘Who is this pope? Where did he come from?’ And who wants to learn this not from a theologian writing for other theologians, but in everyday language from an everyday point of view. Moved by his own burning curiosity, Mark K. Shriver travels to Argentina, Rome, and elsewhere to talk with the pope’s family, former students, parishioners, and longtime associates. This book lets you travel with him.”—Michael Novak, author of The Open Church and Writing from Left to Right