St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491. He was one of 13 children, born into a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man, Ignatius Loyola was inflamed by the ideals of courtly love and knighthood and dreamed of doing great deeds.
He became an officer in the Spanish army and in 1521 Ignatius was wounded at the battle of Pamplona. His leg was broken by a cannonball and he was bedridden for the next year. During his difficult recovery, Inigo asked for books about chivalry, his favorite reading. There weren’t any at the family castle where he was bedridden, so he had to settle for a book about the life of Christ and biographies of the saints, topics which he found unexpectedly riveting.
He noticed something strange happening within him. He had always dreamed of imitating heroes, but now, the heroes had names like Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him. He experienced a conversion.
So in 1522, Ignatius of Loyola was well enough to leave home. He traveled on foot from his home in Loyola, in the Basque region of NE Spain, to Montserrat and Manresa near Barcelona. This pilgrimage changed his life. Which also changed the world.
“He came to the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat and kept a vigil all night. He left his sword at the altar and gave his fine clothes to a poor man. He cast aside his life as a noble soldier and dressed himself in rough clothes and sandals so as to take up the life of a poor pilgrim.“https://www.jesuits.org/stories/the-life-of-st-ignatius-of-loyola/
He made his way to Manresa and lived in a cave outside of town.
“He lived in a cave outside the town of Manresa. Ignatius began writing about the emotions that took hold of him — feelings of gratitude and anguish, consolation and sadness — while encountering scripture. It was here where he started work on what would become the Spiritual Exercises.
The Spiritual Exercises is a series of compilations on meditations, prayers, and other contemplative practices, meant to be used like a handbook, especially for spiritual directors who accompany and guide people through the process of reflection and prayer.“https://www.jesuits.org/stories/the-life-of-st-ignatius-of-loyola/
With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. Ignatius conceived the Jesuits as “contemplatives in action.” Ignatius wanted Jesuits to go out and “find God in all things.”
“Whatever you are doing, that which makes you feel the most alive…that is where God is.”St. Ignatius of Loyola
Embark on the Ignatian Camino
It is this path that we will embark upon as we walk the Ignatian Camino. As we walk this path from Loyola to Manresa, we will walk through towns that he did, pray at churches where he did, and marvel at the same natural wonders that he saw.
As we walk this Way of St. Ignatius, we will offer spiritual exercises. One of the fruits of the Spiritual Exercises will be experiencing the peace of knowing that one is oriented toward complete happiness, which is already partially experienced now, as the pilgrim journeys along.
This pilgrimage is extra special, due to it being a Jubilee year along the Ignatian Camino which celebrates the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’s remarkable pilgrim journey. and we will also be walking this during Lent.
Give yourself a Lenten retreat and celebrate Easter in Manresa. This pilgrimage has limited space so don’t hesitate and book today!