Project Description

 “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”- St. Augustine

Classic Italy Pilgrimage

Women Saints Through the Centuries”

Rome: October 10 – 18, 2022

We have carefully budgeted our Classic Pilgrimages for travelers so that they can experience the unique qualities of Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages at our most affordable price, without sacrificing Inside the Vatican integrity and style. These pilgrimages are limited to 35 pilgrims, never more! We cap the number of pilgrims because we want to keep each pilgrimage as intimate as possible.

what is a classic pilgrimage?

Join Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages in this unique opportunity with Barbara Heil and our own, Deborah Tomlinson, on a sacred journey through Rome and nearby areas, encountering Our Lady and the feminine genius’ of the female saints, leaders and benefactors of the early Church and Rome.

During our time in Rome we will be staying at the beautiful Villa Serenella, a stately, typically Roman villa-turned- monastery surrounded by 13 acres of olive groves, pine trees, and walking paths. Situated outside of the city, the Villa Serenella is a perfect place to retreat to and relax after a day of touring the city!

what is the villa serenella?

A Letter of Invitation …

Dear Pilgrim,

I would like to invite you to join Deborah Tomlinson and myself on a Roman pilgrimage in the footsteps of our sisters in the Faith, who call us to enter with them into the Kingdom of Heaven.  From the earliest days of the church, women have been an integral part of the Church and the Faith.

More than a tour, it will be a true pilgrimage – a journey both physical and spiritual – that we will travel through Rome and Assisi, where we will drink of the legacy and lives of many women who were faithful witnesses of the Faith through their lives, leadership, witness and even death.  In Rome, we will visit the shrines of Sts. Prassedes and Pudentiana, early Roman believers, sisters and daughters of St. Pudens, baptized by St. Paul, and women who offered shelter to St. Peter!  We will participate in a Papal audience and then go to Our Lady of Revelations where the Holy Mother Mary appeared.  We will also visit the Vatican museums and the Catacombs of St. Priscilla, with its Marian depictions and mural of an early Christian woman.

We will go to Assisi, to the chapel of St. Clare, as well as St. Francis, and continue our pilgrimage with special Masses, time for prayer and contemplation, returning to Rome to visit holy sites associated with St. Barbara, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Bridget, the Blessed Virgin, St. Monica, and more!

Plus, we will see original Caravaggio paintings during our journey, as well as tour a nearby winery and enjoy an Italian cooking class for good measure! Please read the Information and Registration Packet for the complete schedule and make plans to join us for this unique pilgrimage in the footsteps of women saints through the centuries.

Barbara Heil

for more information about barbara heil

Pilgrimage Overview

October 10 – 18, 2022

    • Spend eight (8) nights at the Villa Serenella, the Maronite monastery in Rome
    • Meet Dr. Robert Moynihan, leading Vatican analyst and founder and editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, Deborah Tomlinson, Chief Operating Officer, and friends of Inside the Vatican magazine
    • Gain insight into the workings of the Vatican from Dr. Moynihan


    • Enjoy a private tour of St. Peter’s Square
    • Enjoy a visit to the Basilica of Santo Spirito, the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Rome
    • Visit the 4 major Basilicas of Rome: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul’s-Outside-the-Walls
    • Tour the Churches of Sts. Prassedes and Pudentiana, the latter being the first papal residence and the site of a Eucharistic Miracle
    • Visit the Church of Three Fountains, St. Sebastian’s and the Domino Quo Vadis church and learn of their importance in the lives of Sts. Peter and Paul.
    • Visit the lofty Victorian-gothic church of San Alfonso and venerate The Miraculous Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
    • Venerate and/or ascend on your knees the Holy Stairs near the Basilica of St. John Lateran
    • Visit Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the church containing relics of the Passion from Jerusalem
    • Attend a Wednesday Papal Audience as a guest of Inside the Vatican magazine
    • Travel along the Appian Way
    • Visit the site of a Marian apparition, the Grotto of our Lady of Revelations


  •   Castel di Leva: visit the Shrine of Mother of Divine Love
  •   Castel Gandolfo: site of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo (summer residence and vacation retreat of the Pope), now a museum and home to one of our favorite restaurants


  • Spend a morning at Campo De’ Fiori (Field of  Flowers), an open market to browse and/or enjoy a cup of coffee
  • Enjoy a walking tour, encountering the Bridgettine Sisters and the relics of St. Bridget, ultimately arriving  at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, where the first public Mass may have been held


  •   Tour the Basilica of St. Francis and visit his tomb; attend Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels and pray in St. Francis’ Portiuncula
  •   Visit the Basilica of St. Clare and pray at her tomb
  •   Enjoy a walking tour of Assisi

     DAYS 7 and 8: ROME

  •  Attend Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica
  •  Attend a Sunday Angelus with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Baroque Rome led by Dr. Moynihan visiting the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Basilica of St. Augustine, the Piazza Navona and the Basilica of Sant’ Andrea della Fratte to view six Caravaggio paintings and the Madonna Del Popolo, the miraculous image of Our Lady painted by St. Luke
  • Visit the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, where Our Lady appeared to Alphonse Ratisbonne as she appears on the Miraculous Medal
  • Visit the site of the miracle of The Floating Stone Madonna
  • Enjoy a guided private Faith and Art Tour of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums
  • Visit Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica where the remains of St. Catherine of Siena are buried
  • Explore the Catacombs of St. Priscilla, with a private Mass in the catacombs

This pilgrimage is not exclusive to women. Men are very welcome to participate!