The Family on Pilgrimage: God Leads Through Dead Ends

by Francis Etheredge

Restless, bitter beyond hope, an unconscious pilgrim becomes conscious at forty that failing to find himself was the moment God awaited to give a sinner the gift of faith, transforming agonies of searching into a decision to marry, work, unfold a family life, and witness to the help of God. The Good Shepherd enables our communion with one another, so this book has grown immeasurably through the witness of others.

Paperback: $14.95 | Kindle: $9.99


Prologue: The Holy Family in the life of the Family; Scripture; and Pilgrimage

  • Alberto Guiterrez: An Experience of Evangelization

General Introduction

  • Part I: An Unexpected Beginning; Part II: A Comment on the Structure as a Whole; Part III: A General Introduction to Each Chapter (III)
  • Corinna Turner: A Pilgrimage to Walsingham and its Relationship to a New Religious Congregation and to Providence

Chapter One 

  • An Unconscious Pilgrim Becomes Conscious: A Prose account of the Beads of Pilgrimage (Part I); The Family on Pilgrimage (Part II); and the Life-Cycle Poems (Part III: I-V)
  • Alan Soares: Pilgrimage and a Dialogue with God Leading to the Vocation to Marriage
  • Clare Hill: Pilgrimage throughout 81 Years of Life and The Teams of Our Lady

Chapter Two

  • In Pilgrimage to the Coming of the Word: Part I: Three Poems: Our Mother of the Incarnation; Bread of Love, Wine of Glory; and Christmas; Part II: A Prose Account of the Enlightening Work of the Word of God; and Part III: The Gifts of Pilgrimage
  • Dominic Quirke: An Experience of Pilgrimage and a Relationship to God Leading to a Vocation to the Priesthood

Chapter Three 

  • The World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Cracow: Fundraising and Obstacles (I); General Impressions and a Particular Conversation in Europe (II); and the Gift of a Catechesis on Edith Stein in a Polish Carmelite Convent (III)
  • Grace, Teresa and Peter Etheredge: World Youth Day Pilgrimage Experiences (Cracow, 2016)

Chapter Four

  • Part I: A Pilgrimage to the Truth that Heals: On Coming to the Sacrament of Marriage; Part II: On the Woman Caught in Adultery and the Love Expressed in Christ the Word; Part III: “Be Open to Life”: “Abstract Norm” or “Embodied Word”?
  • Alan Soares: Evangelization and the Help to the Family

Chapter Five

  • Writing as a Pilgrimage of Work: Part I: “My Words Bled” and “A Day in the Life of a Student”; “Meals”; Part II: Success is Steering through the Setbacks; Part III: Writing a Way Forward
  • Corinna Turner: An Experience of Pilgrimage and Thoughts on Martyrdom

Epilogue and a Final Poem: “Bruised or Well Used Words?”

Postscript: An Experience of an Evangelizing Fool for God


“The author’s skills as a philosopher, poet, and father of 11 all converge in this timely, readable, and important book. Etheredge is a modern John Bunyan writing a new Pilgrim’s Progress for the modern family that needs encouragement in times of difficulty and fortitude when it seems to be running out of patience.” – Donald DeMarco, author of In Praise of Life and How to Flourish in a Fallen World

“Beginning with lessons from the Holy Family, Francis Etheredge’s The Family on Pilgrimage proceeds to provide a plethora of fascinating and holy insights of value to every person in every family who would seek to end their life-long pilgrimage within the gates of heaven, face-to-face with God.” — Kevin Vost, Psy.D., author of Memorize the Latin Mass!

“Life is a pilgrimage, a journey toward the Kingdom of Heaven; it is a journey toward Eden made new. Yet, along the way, this journey is often fraught with difficulties and anxieties, even with points of despair. And it is here, in the trenches of real life, that Francis Etheredge’s work comes as balm to the weary soul. Filled with stories and anecdotes and even poetry, this warm work runs the reader through the various changes and chances of life, revealing along the way their common theme: pilgrimage, specifically the family on pilgrimage. Yet, this common theme is not understood in a vacuum, but, rather, as part of a grand narrative: the historic, evangelical, concrete, tangible, touchable, universal call to faith. I encourage all, therefore, to join Etheredge on this pilgrimage ‘into the mystery of God and His Word’ as we journey together as the body of Christ from this life toward the life to come.” — Fr. Josh Genig, Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies, Holy Apostles, Cromwell, CT

“Francis Etheredge has written a truly inspirational book for so many of us who, in the prime of life, had somehow – very successfully – managed to hit a complete dead end in life. Now what? Be not afraid! This remarkable book tells the tale of an inspiring personal pilgrimage that can fill every heart with renewed hope that God will, if we let Him, lead us and turn our devastating dead ends into a joyful journey filled with God’s mercy and love. Dead ends are blessings in disguise!” – Elizabeth B. Rex, Ph.D., MBA, President, The Children First Foundation


Knight, Eileen Quinn. “Profiles in Catholicism.” (January, 2019)


Nary, Gordon. “Profiles in Catholicism.” (November, 2017)


Etheredge, Francis: “Loaves and Fishes: An Experience of the World Meeting of Families” St. Bernadette’s Parish Newsletter (September 2, 2018)

Etheredge, Francis. “Being Open to New Life: Abstract Norm or Embodied Word?” Homiletics & Pastoral Review (January 23, 2018).


Mr. Francis Etheredge is married with eight children, plus three in heaven.

Francis is the author of Scripture: A Unique Word, and a trilogy From Truth and Truth (Volume I-“Faithful Reason”; Volume II-“Faith and Reason in Dialogue”; Volume III-“Faith Is Married Reason”), all of which are published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; The Human Person: A Bioethical Word, The Family on Pilgrimage: God Leads through Dead Ends, The Prayerful Kiss, and Conception: An Icon of the Beginningall of which are published by En Route Books and Media.

Francis is currently a freelance writer and speaker and his “Posts” on LinkedIn can be viewed here. Poetry; short articles; autobiographical blog; excerpts from books; and “Philosophize: A Ten Minute Write.”

He has earned a BA Div (Hons), MA in Catholic Theology, PGC in Biblical Studies, PGC in Higher Education, and an MA in Marriage and Family (Distinction).

Enjoy these additional articles by Francis Etheredge:


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