Verso Ministries

Verso L'alto

Verso Ministries is a Catholic pilgrimage company helping people explore the world and discover what God has in store for them. We do so in the spirit of our patron saint, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. 

Nearly 100 years ago, Frassati wrote the words “Verso l’alto” on a now iconic picture of him as he scales the side of a cliff. Literally, the words mean “to the top” or “towards the heights.”

Metaphorically, the phrase means, “orient your entire life toward God.” In all that you do, in all that you are, seek the path that leads you to God. Blessed Pier Giorgio is a beautiful witness to living out this mantra. 

So, together, let’s seek the path, encounter the sacred, and share the story so that others may join us. 

Photo (c) Associazione Pier Giorgio Frassati, Rome.  Used with permission.

Our Team

John Paul Lichon

Founder and CEO

John Paul spent 10 years in parish and college ministry before taking the dive to start Verso Ministries. He’s always had an entrepreneurial inkling, as he’s always sought new and dynamic ways to spread the Gospel. He is passionate about the practice of pilgrimage and the ways in which a pilgrim’s heart and mind can be transformed by an encounter with God on a pilgrimage. He resides in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife and two children.

To read about the moment when Verso MInistries was born, visit our blog.

Stephanie Petrie

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Stephanie has been traveling internationally since she was 16 years old and spent her 20’s studying theology and working in ministry. One of her greatest joys is seeing how different cultures glorify God and how each place she has visited influences her journey of faith. She resolutely believes in the power of pilgrimage to impact people’s lives and invite them to respond to God’s invitation to be who He made them to be. She coordinates the logistical and spiritual components of pilgrimages. Stephanie proudly calls South Bend, Indiana, home.

Brooke Kostielney

Director of Marketing

A summer spent studying in Córdoba, Argentina while a student at Saint Mary’s College sparked Brooke’s appreciation for the art of travel and the exploration of other cultures. Brooke is proud to answer God’s call to convert the hearts and souls of others, and her own, through her work with Verso. Brooke resides in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband, Tommy, and their three spirited children. 

Mike Montalbano

Managing Director

Mike is a seasoned business executive with over 40 years of experience in marketing, strategy, and executive development/mentoring. During his business career he held positions ranging from President & CEO to Vice-President, Marketing for a variety of firms ranging in size from $60M to $10B. He has significant domestic and international expertise in executive management, mass marketing, database marketing, merchandising, and advertising, as well as extensive experience with new country launches.  He has served on the Boards of both non-profit and for-profit enterprises.  Mike has been teaching at the University level since 2003, at Notre Dame since 2015, and has taught a number of different classes including Strategic Management and Principles of Management at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  He also currently runs imprenditori, a company he founded in 2018, working to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Annie List

Business Development specialist

Annie graduated from Franciscan University and fell in love with her faith through the study abroad program in Austria. She spent 4 months exploring Europe and discovering the love of Christ. That’s where she had her deepest conversion to the Catholic faith. From her own experience, she knows how exploring the beauty that the Lord has created throughout the world can be such an incredible experience to deeper conversion and unity with our unique Catholic faith. She is happily married to Sebastian and they reside in South Bend, IN with their 2 cats and beagle puppy. 

Charlotte Velloso

Pilgrimage Coordinator

Born in France, Charlotte grew up traveling to Europe to spend time with her mother’s family. After meeting her Brazilian husband, her international trips expanded to South America. Charlotte’s passion for pilgrimage took shape during her master’s when she wrote her thesis on pilgrimage and organized a pilgrimage to Turin, Italy. Charlotte is excited to share this passion with prospective pilgrims and to witness how the Holy Spirit works in the grandeur and the quiet corners of pilgrimage. She resides in Morgantown, West Virginia with her husband and a baby on the way. 

Jenna Streich

Pilgrimage Coordinator

Ever since Jenna spent four months living and studying in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the Holy Land has held a special place in her heart. She is passionate about accompanying pilgrims through all stages of their journeys and experiencing God at work through the encounters and relationships that pilgrimages facilitate. Jenna studied theology, peace studies, and science at the University of Notre Dame and has a master’s degree in education from Saint Joseph’s University. Along with traveling, she enjoys making and listening to music, playing golf, and spending time outdoors. Jenna lives in South Bend, Indiana.

Hunter Bratton

Strategic Projects Specialist

While Hunter has never traveled outside of the country on a pilgrimage, he is always seeking new ways to deepen his faith as a pilgrim on the journey of life. He graduated last semester from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accounting and a minor in Theology, and his time there provided many opportunities to learn more about his faith and grow closer to God. In addition to working with Verso, he is currently studying for the CPA exam before moving out to Colorado to begin full-time work with PwC in the fall.

Ted Nagy

Operations Assistant

Ted developed a love of adventure over the course of many road trips all over the United States with his family. Though brief visits to Canada and Mexico gave him a taste of international travel as a kid, a month-long trip to Europe upon graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Film, Television, and Theatre opened the world to him in a new way. It also helped to cement his commitment to the Catholic faith by driving home  the universality of the Church around the world.  Ted is excited to help others encounter Christ through travel like he has. He resides in South Bend, IN and spends his free time finding ways to indulge his creative side.

Caitlin Bonnesen

Intern

Caitlin is a current Junior at Saint Mary’s College studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Her time at Saint Mary’s College has consisted of being a member of the Women’s Varsity Basketball team and continuing to grow her faith. Her passion for travel and faith has led her to the opportunity to study abroad this January in Rome, Italy. She is currently working with our Marketing department to develop marketing and communication materials for Verso pilgrims. 

Morgan Miller

Intern

Morgan is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in Economics with
minors in Statistics and Religious Studies. She is currently a graduate student at the
University of Notre Dame in the ESTEEM Program pursuing a M.S. in Engineering, Science,
and Business Tech. She has been working in the Catholic school system in various
capacities and roles for over eight years, and is very excited to see where her life takes her
next!

Henry Cella

Intern

Henry is a Senior at the University of Notre Dame studying Finance and Philosophy. In his time at Notre Dame, Henry has participated in multiple student government roles and volunteer opportunities. His commitment to service led him to attend and graduate from the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School and Earn The Title U.S. Marine as he prepares to commission as an officer in the spring. He is currently working with the Finance and Accounting department.

Ashley Miller

Intern

Ashley is a Senior at Saint Mary’s College studying Communication Studies with minors in PR/Advertising and Religious Studies. At Saint Mary’s, she is a leader in the Fiat Ministry, Belles for Life, Student Activities Board, and the COMM Honor Society. Her free time also consists of fostering her own faith and relationship with Jesus in many ways. The first international pilgrimage she took was to Rome, Italy and there she found that traveling to holy sites can truly allow you to go deeper into your faith. She is currently an intern with the Pilgrimage Operations Department!

Jackie Nguyen

Intern

Jackie is a current first year student at Saint Mary’s college majoring in Business Administration and Theology. At Saint Mary’s, she is a member of the varsity volleyball team as well as a catechist at Christ the King Parish. Jackie’s deepest conversion has stemmed from pilgrimages and Catholic conferences such as NCYC, the March for Life, and Steubenville. She strongly believes that encountering Jesus on these pilgrimages can be one of the most formative and life-changing experiences for one’s spiritual life and is excited to guide pilgrims as they prepare for their life-changing journey as well.

Thinking about going on a pilgrimage?

Climbing Higher

Lord,

As we embark upon this pilgrimage together, guide my steps. While I cannot anticipate every twist and turn ahead, I trust that you will lead me and strengthen me, inviting me to discover beauty in ways I cannot imagine.

Give me the eyes to see your presence, the ears to hear your voice, and an open heart, ready to learn from each person, place, and story that I encounter.

Help me to look beyond myself and discover the world as you see it. Draw me closer to those around me. Encourage me to slow down, to let go of needless worry. Let my mind wander and my heart wonder at the unexpected, often ordinary ways you find me.

With this next step, no matter how small, meek, and humble, I show you my desire and my commitment, despite my imperfections, to answer your call to “Come, follow me,” to thirst after truth, justice, and love, and ultimately, to always find my path back to you, my eternal home.

Through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, give me the strength, courage, and trust to discover everything that you have in store for me in this life and the next.

Amen.

©Verso Ministries / Iconographer: Kelly Latimore
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