Camino in the steps of St Ignatius
A 10 day pilgrimage led by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ and Josephine Siedlecka
Bookings are open for the Farm Street Camino in the Steps of St Ignatius, walking 200 km in the steps of the founder of the Jesuits through Catalonia, visiting the Shrine of St Peter Claver in Verdú, Igualada, the Abbey of Montserrat and Manresa, followed by a 3-day retreat and visiting the Ignatian sites in Barcelona.
This pilgrimage is organised by the Jesuits of Farm St Church in London and is open to all open to all, of any age and faith or none, who feel they can manage walking about 10 to 15 miles per day over a 10 day period across beautiful Catalunya in late September/ early October.
In his autobiography St Ignatius calls himself simply “the pilgrim” and guides us through his own Camino in the year 1522 from his home town of Loyola in the Basque Country across northern Spain to Montserrat and Manresa in the east. Our own Camino follows the final part of this route along the ancient Camino trail through Catalunya.
We start at the Shrine and birth place of St Peter Claver, the 17th century Jesuit priest known as the “slave to the slaves” for his work with the slaves of what is modern day Colombia. We then walk through the beautiful green valleys and hills of Catalunya that St Ignatius knew so well, stopping at churches, shrines of Our Lady and in small villages and towns as he did. Then we make our way around the breathtaking mountain of Montserrat, known as a place of profound peace and spirituality, and arrive at the great Abbey of Our Lady of Monserrat, where St Ignatius spent three nights in prayer, laid down his sword at the feet of the Madonna and resolved to follow Christ. Finally we follow the steps of St Ignatius to the town of Manresa, where he settled and lived the life of “the pilgrim” as he composed the Spiritual Exercises.
This pilgrimage, however, is not all walking, although this takes up most of the first ten days until we arrive in Manresa. A Camino is a spiritual as well as physical exercise. During the walk we will stop for prayer at particular places, guided by St Ignatius to reflect on our own response to Christ. St Ignatius in his autobiography charts his own progress as he walks, reflecting on his call to detachment, freedom, indifference. So our prayer will reflect this as we contemplate where God is working in our life. Each day we will celebrate Mass as the high point of the day and eat dinner together. We spend several ‘repose days’ too in Montserrat and in Manresa, to take time to sample the atmosphere of this special spiritual place.
At the end of our walk we then go on to the beautiful city of Barcelona, home to St Ignatius for several years in two periods of his life. We stay in the Spiritual Exercises Centre to spend a few days of rest, prayer reviewing our Camino experience, and visiting the sites associated with St Ignatius. There will also be time for general sightseeing, shopping and enjoying this wonderful city.