Simply Bavaria

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Simply Bavaria: The Conventual Franciscan Friars invite you to join them in their first pilgrimage to Bavaria in southern Germany. We will be lodged in the intimate setting of our Franciscan Friary in the Alps. Our pilgrimage will begin with a visit to the oldest Marian shrine of Altötting and follow with visits that commemorate the earliest martyrs of the Nazi period. We will enjoy a Mozart evening in nearby Salzburg and visits the quaint towns nestled in the beauty of the Bavarian Alps. There will be ample time for rest and prayer, including group preparation and reflection on the sites we visit. We will keep this to a small group of 25, including our guides, ensuring a more intimate and personal experience.

Package Price from the Gateway City of Chicago, O’Hare (ORD):

A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot.
Full Package payment must be made in full 90 days before we leave (January 31st, 2023)

Complete Package with flight: $3,899 ($4,019 when you pay online – processing fees applied)

Land Only Package (flight not included): $2,899 ($3,019 when you pay online – processing fees applied)

Package Price Inclusions:

Airfare: Roundtrip on non-refundable, economy class group airline ticket from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) Airport. We also offer a “Land Only Package” for those wishing to make their flight reservations.

Accommodations: Religious housing at the Franciscan Friary, Maria Eck, with private bathroom facilities. Rooms are double occupancy so will be shared with one other guest. We do have a limited number of private rooms that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at an additional cost.

Meals: Per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).

Transportation & Sightseeing: By private motor coach per the itinerary with an English-speaking pilgrimage manager during the land portion of the program; entrance fees and local guides as shown in the itinerary.

Tips to hotels, restaurants, guides, and drivers: These are included in the price. CTC will advise the group leaders of the amount to distribute to hotels, restaurants, drivers, and guides.

Masses: Masses will be available most days.

Accommodations: We will be housed in the Franciscan Friary at Maria Eck. Rooms will be shared with one other guest. There are two single rooms available for an additional fee they are first-come-first-serve. Adjacent to the Friary and Shrine is a Guest House that offers an excellent menu of cake/coffee or pretzels/beer for traditional afternoon pause.

We will be in the mountains surrounded by hiking trails. Good shoes, and the ability to walk and manage one’s own luggage are required.

Package Price Exclusions:

Excess baggage charges.

Beverages with meals; meals not mentioned.

Passport or visa fees.

Items of personal nature (laundry, phone calls, etc.) or any items not explicitly stated as included.

Tours mentioned as ‘optional’ in the itinerary.

Optional Travel Insurance: Each passenger is strongly encouraged to purchase their own travel protection insurance; We are happy to provide a recommendation, but passengers are free to purchase insurance from any company they choose.

Cost of any medical test required by the airline, cruise company, other supplier(s), and/or the country(s) in your program.


We will keep this to a small group (including our guides), ensuring a more intimate and personal experience. Bring a favorite book and your hiking shoes. There will be time for reading, relaxing, and contemplation. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and only have a limited number of spots available. You can secure your place with a  $500 non-refundable deposit. If you have questions, call Becki Romans in the Mission Advancement Office at 812-923-5250 or email by clicking here.


Franciscan Friars Friary, Maria Eck

Your Pilgrimage Guides

Father Wayne Hellmann OFM Conv.

Friar Wayne recently finished serving as Minister Provincial for his Province of Our Lady of Consolation. He is professor emeritus at Saint Louis University. He had earned his Doctorate in Theology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtat in Munich, Germany in 1974. He received many awards and other recognition during his distinguished academic career at Saint Louis University.

He has taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, directed dissertations, engaged in theological and historical research into the Franciscan tradition, and served in academic administration.  In addition to his work at Saint Louis University, he served as Minister Provincial (the first time) from 1988 to 1994, and a second term ended in 2022.  As was said best by former Minister Provincial Fr. Jim Kent, “Although he has a great reputation as a scholar and teacher, Fr. Wayne is known more for his heart than his head.”

Father Steve McMichael, OFM Conv.

Originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota where Fr. Steve graduated from high school in 1973. He was familiar in his youth with the friars at the seminary in Chaska and the retreat house in Prior Lake. He professed solemn vows in 1981 and was ordained in 2002. He earned his BA in Philosophy and Arts in 1981, a MA in Franciscan Studies in 1983, and a bachelor degree in theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure (the Seraphicum) in Rome in 1988, and his License and Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University (S.J.) in 1992.

Fr. Steve has served in the world of university education from 1992 to 2000 at the University of Saint Louis and other education centers in Saint Louis. From 2000 to the present, he has served as an associate professor of theology at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, MN. He served as acting director of the Engaging Islam program from 2018 to 2020 at Saint Thomas and has been actively engaged in the Christian-Muslim dialogue in the Twin Cities since 2000.

In the area of scholarship, Fr. Steve is currently researching and writing on the topic of the resurrection of Jesus in late medieval Franciscan theology, spirituality, and preaching. He recently published a book entitled The Glory of Paradise: Risen Life in the Easter Octave Sermons of Bernardino da Siena (Tau Press, 2016). He is in the process of publishing a book on Mary Magdalene as the main biblical resurrection witness to Jesus’ resurrection. He continues to work on the medieval Easter sermons, literature, and art of medieval Franciscan tradition regarding the resurrection.

Other fun facts about Fr. Steve: he spends many weekends serving local parishes in the Minneapolis area. He enjoys going to Italy, especially with adult pilgrims and students. He still plays “old man” hockey once a week to keep in shape to do Franciscan pilgrimage programs. He loves immensely the beauty of nature in Minnesota and especially at the Franciscan Retreat and Spirituality Center where he feeds the birds, deer, and squirrels of the area.

We expect this pilgrimage to fill fast. Reserve your spot today!


April 30 – Depart in the PM

We depart in the evening from Chicago O’Hare Airport on our non-stop flight to Munich on Lufthansa German Airline.

May 1, Monday – Arrival in Munich Airport

We will arrive in Munich and be greeted by our Catholic Travel Centre pilgrimage manager who will accompany us throughout our journey. We will then be transported by private motor coach to Siegsdorf, located between Munich and Salzburg, and up the mountain to the Marian Shrine of Maria Eck and the adjacent Franziskanerkloster (the Friary). In the evening, we receive an orientation to Bavaria, Maria Eck, and reflection on the nature of pilgrimage by friar Wayne and friar Steve. (D)

May 2, Tuesday – Relax at Maria Eck: Day of Leisure

After breakfast, we have a free day to take in the beauty of the Bavarian Alps with quiet time and possibilities for hiking and exploring. Morning Mass is offered after breakfast and an evening reflection will be offered on the Marian Shrine of Altötting and on the lives of St. Konrad of Parzan and of Blessed Franz Jägersätter, in view of our visits tomorrow. (B, L, D)

May 3, Wednesday – Excursion to Altötting

After breakfast we depart by motor coach to visit the most important pilgrimage site in Bavaria, the historic Black Madonna in the town of Altötting. Here we celebrate Mass and gather for private prayer, with time to visit the tomb of Capuchin St. Konrad. After lunch on one’s own, we board our motor coach for Obersdorf, Austria to visit the Church where Silent Night originated. We continue then to Radegrund, Austria, to the home of Nazi martyr, Blessed Franz Jägerstätter. We return to Maria Eck for our evening meal together. (B, D)

May 4, Thursday – Relax at Maria Eck: Leisure or Included Optional Excursion to Chiemsee

After breakfast and morning Mass, we will enjoy leisure time followed by lunch. After lunch, we have the option for a visit to the islands of the Alpine lake of Chiemsee located nearby with its two islands, one with a male monastery and the other a female monastery. Our transport will be by motor coach. After we will gather for our evening meal. Afterward, there will be a preparatory reflection on the Holocaust in reference to tomorrow’s visit to Dachau. (B, L, D)

May 5, Friday – Excursion to Dachau & Munich City Tour

We leave by private motor coach after breakfast for the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich, followed by reflective prayer at an adjacent Carmelite Monastery. We then proceed to the city of Munich, where we visit Munich University’s Memorial of the White Rose, a student group which protested the polices of the Nazi Party. Lunch on one’s own in the pedestrian center of the city, with a visit to the tomb of Peter Rupert Mayer, SJ, another Nazi martyr. Return transfer by motor coach back to Maria Eck for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

May 6, Saturday – Excursion to Reit im Winkel

After breakfast, our motor coach will transfer us to the nearby small Alpine town of Reit im Winkel to shop, eat, and to experience local culture. Noon meal on one’s own. Return transfer by motor coach to Maria Eck. (B, D)

May 7, Sunday – Day at Leisure, Evening Excursion to Salzburg for Mozart Evening

Regular Morning Mass (German) in the Shrine and Day of Rest/Reading/Quiet with a spiritual reflection from Fr. Wayne (or other personal initiatives) In the afternoon, we depart by private motor coach for Salzburg, where we enjoy a visit of Mozart’s House, followed a delightful dinner and musical performance at a Mozart dinner theatre. (B, D)

May 8, Monday – Excursion to Königsee and Berchtesgaden

After breakfast, we leave for a boating experience in the Bavarian Alps, a cruise on Lake Königsee to see the iconic church of St. Bartholomew. After some time for lunch on our own, we proceed to Berchtesgaden to visit Hitler’s Eagles’ Nest (subject to local weather conditions). We return by motor coach to Maria Eck for dinner and the evening. (B, D)

May 9, Tuesday – Day at Leisure With Optional Hike

After breakfast, we will relax and hike in Maria Eck. Consider an optional climb – or gondola ride – to top of the Hochfeln, the highest mountain in the area. We gather for the evening meal. Evening reflections by Fr. Wayne and Fr. Steve. (B, D)

May 10, Wednesday – Depart Maria Eck for Munich and City Tour

After breakfast, we check out and depart for our day in Munich. We will visit the Cathedral, Baroque/Rococo Churches, the English Garden, Franciscan Church of Sankt Anna. We will have time for shopping. This evening we transfer to our hotel near the Munich Airport. We will enjoy dinner at a local beer garden, hosted by the Province. We return to our hotel for the evening. (B, D)

May 11, Thursday – Return USA

Our motor coach will transfer us to the Munich Airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)


1) We will be housed in the Franciscan Friary. Adjacent to the Friary and Shrine is a Guest House that offers excellent menu of cake/coffee or pretzels/beer for traditional afternoon pause. 2) We will be in the mountains surrounded by hiking trails. Good shoes, ability to walk and manage one’s own luggage are required. 3) We will provide a book as part of our packet on the Lord ’s Prayer. 4) Bring a favorite book(s) and your hiking shoes. There will be ample time for exploring and reading.