Pilgrimages – More Information
Plan a Pilgrimage with the Sisters of Mary
If you are interested in attending or planning a pilgrimage to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Sisters of Mary Girlstown, please contact us to learn more. You can reach us by emailing Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or submittling the interest form online through the link below.
What will I do?
Pilgrims spend time in community with the Sisters and students. Daily Mass and Holy hours are offered as well as spiritual direction and the opportunity for Confession when an English-speaking priest is available. There are several chapels for prayer and reflection. Visitors assist the community by performing light work projects such as gardening, land keeping, and working in the bakery. These work projects also allow for informal interactions with staff and students. Pilgrims spend time offering a ministry of presence to the students in the care of the Sisters. During most pilgrimages, a one-day visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is coordinated with the group.
Do I need travel vaccinations?
Please refer to the CDC for the most up-to-date information regarding recommended and required vaccinations and consult your physician. Make sure that you are up to date on routine vaccines before you travel. These vaccines include measles-mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Pilgrims are required to test according to individual country protocols and current CDC guidelines for COVID-19.
What physical limitations would prevent my participation in a pilgrimage?
The Sisters of Mary welcome people of all abilities. We do want to know prior to the trip about any physical limitations, so we can do our best to ensure your comfort. This information will be kept in the strictest confidence.
The altitude of Mexico City is 7,349 feet. You should plan to not overdo it on your first day and stay hydrated.
The property in Chalco is expansive and it is not uncommon for pilgrims to log 6,000+ steps per day. There are golf carts that may be used as available to transport pilgrims.
If you have a serious healthcare condition, we encourage you to check with your primary care physician before you travel internationally.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, you need a passport to travel to Mexico. Please make sure your passport does not expire for six months after your scheduled trip. You do not need a visa to travel to Mexico if you are a U.S (United States) citizen. For other nationalities, please check with the consulate to make sure you have the necessary travel documents.
Pilgrimages and retreats are available to anyone who is at least 15 years of age (under 18 traveling with a parent or designated chaperone.) Chalco is home to 3,500 girls and as such is most suited to women or couples.
Do I have to be Catholic?
We welcome people of all faith denominations. Pilgrims come from colleges, high schools, parishes, medical groups and more. We welcome all to participate in our Liturgies with a spirit of curiosity and mutual respect.
What are the costs?
The fee is $135 per person, per night.
What is included in a Pilgrimage and Retreat?
Accommodation in Villa Aloysius, airport transfers within Mexico, medical insurance, visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and all meals.
Where will I stay?
Pilgrims stay in our comfortable Villa Aloysius which has several different room types to accommodate the needs of visitors. You will find our clean and efficient rooms to be well suited for the needs of groups and individual travelers. Some retreat rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Despite the location amid a busy suburb of Mexico City, visitors describe staying with us as an oasis of tranquility. While our aim is always to make your stay comfortable, please know the rooms have no TVs and wifi or cell access can be spotty depending on your service plan.
What is the food like?
Delicious! Food is prepared in our own kitchens, and we adhere to the highest standards for cleanliness and sanitation. Several options are offered at meals and there will likely be selections you may enjoy. Meals are taken in our Café area in the Villa Aloysius.
We encourage those of you with very limited diets to please consider bringing some food from home to supplement the food served at the retreat center. Options for specialized diets are not possible as we are cooking for the Sisters, staff and over 3,000 students. If you have other concerns, please feel free to speak to our pilgrimage support staff.
How will we get to Villa de las Ninas?
You will be met by one of the Sisters of Mary and/or another staff member as needed for your transfer. The Sisters are easy to spot, gray habit, big smiles of welcome. They will wait for the entire group traveling to clear immigration and customs. You will then be brought to a meeting location for our drivers. The Sisters have vehicles ranging from a large bus, as well as smaller vans and cars as needed to accommodate a group.
How many people can come?
The Villa Aloysius can host up to 55 people at one time.
Can I come alone?
Yes, we host several “Open trips” each year that are composed of individuals who are not affiliated with any group. Please contact us for more information about these trips which are perfect for single travelers.
How much spending money will I need?
Very little since you will be in the care of the Sisters and all meals are included. Pilgrims may wish to purchase a souvenir at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe or in our small gift shop. We do not recommend exchanging large amounts of cash. Please note: public restrooms in and around the Basilica also require pesos – generally 20 pesos for use and 5 pesos for toilet paper.
What type of clothing should I bring?
We ask our guests to be dignified and modest in their clothing choices as we are modeling for the student’s respect for others and ourselves in our choices. Please simplify your clothing choices as fashionable items set up both boys and girls for envy of the things we have.
Women should bring knee length or longer skirts, dresses, capris, or pants for Mass. Please no tank tops or bare shoulders in Chapels or during Mass, if your dress or top is sleeveless, please bring a wrap or sweater for Mass. No shorts. We ask women to wear minimal make-up as it causes struggles for the girls who want to wear make-up. We suggest no jewelry other than wedding rings and religious medals, etc.
Men should wear khakis or other pants. Tee shirts, casual shirts, or a polo shirt are acceptable. Please wear collared shirts for Mass. No shorts.
For all, please no ripped jeans, or ripped pants.
Everyone should wear comfortable walking shoes. The Sisters wear socks in many of their chapels. Please be prepared to remove your shoes and worship in socks depending on the location.
Our Lady of Guadalupe drew our founder, Fr. Al and the Sisters of Mary to Mexico. Learn more about this incredible apparition and inspiration here.
The Sisters of Mary make the protection and care of the children in their custody their top priority. Learn more about our background screening process and requirements here.