Iona Bench

As of Autumn 2013, I have resumed my graduate studies at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. This move to matriculate to this school, and at a committed clip for the next few years, came out of my personal discernment process while leading the 2013 Iona Pentecost Pilgrimage. I am thrilled beyond measure to be able to continue seminary within this community and am eager to see how God will use this time to form my retreat work and vocational call with urban populations.

Please check back here for future pilgrimage and retreat offerings. I am hoping to return to Iona with a group in 2015; perhaps you will be called to come along! In the mean time, I do solicit your prayers, light, love and well-wishes as our family navigates the reality of mommy back in school.




Iona Pentecost Pilgrimage 2013
May 12-20, 2013


You ride on the wings of the wind,
You make the winds your messenger.

-Psalm 104:3-4


Retreat Logo


Celebrate the Spirit and seek solace in its movements in your life in Iona, Scotland for Pentecost 2013.


Your heart has longed for something unnamed and now the Call is before you: Make pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland with the intention of opening yourself to the Spirit's wind, who flows in directions we cannot predict.


This is a time that calls you to intentionally focus on creating space and opening up time to the radical posture of surrender; in this position you will release the questions and perceptions of your life's journey and make room for God to blow fresh in the most life-giving directions.


This is a place where, in the strong and gentle company of women only, we can respond to the wind's invitation to relinquish control of our lives and be carried to a place of growth and newness. During this week of retreat, we will take time and space to listen and respond to God through the element of wind, which invites us to "open our souls to Being."


As a pilgrim, you will travel soulfully to a sacred place as a practice of spiritual discipline and as a means of discerning answers to relevant questions regarding the stages and seasons of womanhood. The pilgrim holds at the heart of their journey a question for God, or a need to be guided by the Spirit in a specific and/or general way. Collectively, our Pilgrimage's holy longing will be to discover ways in which to genuinely know God's will for our lives. We will create space to allow the heart to wander and inhabit quiet, sacred moments, showing us the direction of our true longings.


Our days together will be marked with rhythmic movements of sharing meals and stories, time set apart for quiet reflection and prayer, corporate worship at the Abbey, and of course, plenty of time to hike through heathered hills to legendary green stoned beaches.


This significant season marks the 1450th anniversary of St. Columba's arrival to this sacred isle. Historic Scotland and the Iona Community are committed to creating special events and services to honor the rich legacy of this Celtic saint. You won't want to miss out on being on Iona during this special time!







We will be staying at Scotland's finest hostel—The Iona Hostel—which has just recently received The Green Tourism GOLD award for their high standards in service and sustainability. Simple and sanctuary-like, this hostel is more like a home. Its warmth and hospitality invite the pilgrim to hunker by the hearth or hasten through the heather, always returning to the gracious spirit of this place. Our retreat participants will be the only lodgers in the hostel during our time on Iona. Thus, we will meet in the Big Room for our gathering times, which hosts large, picture windows looking out towards the wind-swept sea. Please visit the Iona Hostel's beautiful website to get a sense of our home together while on Iona






Let's engage the magic that has happened around the hearth for millennia! In the spirit of community and hospitality, we will prepare our meals together and serve one another throughout the week in the Iona Hostel's roomy, farm house-style kitchen. Whole and simple foods from the island's grocery will be purchased and delivered to the hostel. Breakfast will consist of eggs, breads, cheeses and cereal. Lunches will be simple enough to pack away in your backpack to be enjoyed on some spirited space on the island. Dinner menus will be created from the island's produce and locally sourced chicken and seafood. We can arrange to eat out one evening as well at one of Iona's several delicious restaurants.
*Dietary restrictions will be taken into consideration and special accommodations can be arranged.






The fee for the full retreat offerings, which includes lodging, meals, materials and programming is: $1,200. Travel to and from Iona is additional and the responsibility of each individual participant. A $200 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration, 50% of the retreat's costs is due by January 1, 2013 and the trip's balance is due on April 1, 2013.






If you would like to participate in the 2013 Iona Pentecost Pilgrimage, please fill out the registration form. Mail the form with a $200 non-refundable deposit to Waymarkers, 2809 S. Alaska Place, Seattle WA 98108.


NOTE: Please be advised that Iona is a rugged, rustic place. Cars are limited to the inhabitants of the island, which sheep outnumber, and so our feet are our transport. Retreat participants should be in good health and able to walk the mile to/from the village and able to manage their own luggage.




1. Liability and Insurance Information Packet

2. 2013 Iona Pentecost Pilgrimage Application


Thresholds of Awakening
A Weekend of Blessing and Belonging



Awaken your wintered spirit with a weekend retreat where we will engage the ancient art of pilgrimage as a means of bringing us back to a fresh sense of belonging.




Prepare yourself for a local weekend pilgrimage experience where your inner journey will take you in search for that which is Holy. Our group will be the strong, soft company of women, serving one another as anamchairde (Celtic for soul friends); learning, searching and praying together whilst on this journey.


We will…

• Learn about the ancient art of pilgrimage and how this journey method can transform our daily lives

• Look closely at the Celtic Christian tradition as it has much to offer us as we intentionally approach decisive thresholds with reverence and attention

• Expect both blessing and a renewed sense of connection and belonging to your spiritual journey and the Divine Mystery.




• Gather at The Whidbey Institute at Chinook on Friday, March 8 at 7:00pm through Sunday, March 10 at 12:00pm. Here we will call the Farm House our home, a 19th century farmstead that is rustic and charming with downy beds and a comfortable gathering space for our together-times.

• Nourishing, organic meals are locally sourced delicious creations by Chef Christyn Johnson.

• Practice yoga in the Sanctuary, an open, warm, woody space that is filled with calming peace.

• Meditation hikes through the surrounding old growth forest and walking the stone-lined labyrinth are further unique blessings associated with this place.

• The Whidbey Institute at Chinook is located on Whidbey Island, just 90 minutes from Seattle, feels like a world away. One must manage three itinerary legs to get here, thereby making it ripe for a local pilgrimage journey. This land is sacred-land; you will feel its liminality immediately once you are here.





The Whidbey Institute


$320 by January 20 | $370 thereafter

Registration Deadline:

February 15

Checks can be made out to Waymarkers, LLC and sent to 2809 S. Alaska Place Seattle WA 98081. Contact Mary at




• 2 night stay at The Whidbey Institute's Farm House

• 4 gourmet meals (*Saturday meals through Sunday breakfast)

• Guided teaching and reflection sessions provided by Mary DeJong

• Yoga provided by Vera Whole Health's Valerie Burlingame







Mary DeJong leads spiritual formation workshops, vocational discernment retreats and pilgrimages to Iona, Scotland. Her personal studies of Celtic Christianity have led her to pursue graduate studies in EcoTheology, with the hopeful vision of sharing with urban communities about our inherent need for Nature. Mary's first published title, Waymarkers (2011), is a unique pilgrimage journal specific to the journey to Iona; it has been received with excitement by pilgrims the world over and has been endorsed by many Iona Community associates.






Valerie Burlingame is an accomplished teacher, mentor and Master coach in the area of health and wellness. She has extensive experience developing and leading on-site corporate wellness programs; including yoga, weekly nutrition lectures, fitness class and wellness coaching. Valerie is a NASM certified Personal Trainer, a registered Yoga Teacher with twelve years of experience and a Master Wellness Coach.