There is one shorter (246km) and one longer one (495km) guided Ignatian Camino offered:
1. Thursday 4 May – Friday 19 May, 2017 (16 days – 246km)
Cost per person: AUD $2,500.00*
Please download the itinerary for this (246km) Ignatian Camino: ignatian-camino-1-itinerary-2017
Please download the booking form for this (246km) Ignatian Camino: registration-form-2017-ignatian-camino-1
2. Thursday 21 September – Friday 20 October, 2017 (30 days – 495km)
Cost per person: AUD $3,995.00*
Please download the itinerary for the longer (495km) Ignatian Camino ignatian-camino-495km itinerary-2017
Please download the application form for this (495km) Ignatian Camino: registration-form-2017-ignatian-camino-4
* These are the ground content prices only and are based on a minimum of 15 full paying participants. Subject to change. Do not include return airfares to Spain and internal travel to Loyola.
In 2017 two different groups of pilgrims will walk the route taken by Íñigo López de Loyola (who later became Saint Ignatius of Loyola) in 1522 from his home in Spain’s Basque country to Montserrat and Manresa. The “Camino Ignaciano,” or the “Ignatian way” begins at the birthplace of Ignatius Loyola in Spain’s Basque country, in a village near the small town of Azpeitia. From there, the route proceeds through picturesque mountains, deserts and plains, before ending in the town of Manresa near Barcelona. Ignatius rested in this town for some months after his journey from Loyola. Manresa was a place of profound spiritual enlightenment for him. Here he composed his spiritual masterpiece, the Spiritual Exercises. Pilgrims will walk virtually the same route that Ignatius did, pass through many towns that he did, pray at churches where he did, and marvel at the natural wonders that he saw.
Pilgrims will be on an outer journey and an inner journey. The outer journey will be reasonably well marked. The inner journey less so. For some it will be about forgiveness or reconciliation, for others a new direction or course in life, a confirmation of a major life choice, or a renewed or rediscovered sense of personal identity.
NOTE: The Ignatian Camino is a walking pilgrimage with a number of consecutive daily distances over 20km and five or more hours walking each day. A good level of walking fitness & overall good health is essential.
PREPARATION: For more information on physical preparation please click here.
EQUIPMENT: For more information on equipment you will need please click here.
PURPOSE: For more some ideas about how to reflect on your purpose for walking the Ignatian Camino, please click here.
Fr Josep Lluís Iriberri, SJ will guide the longer (495km) pilgrimage from Thursday 21 September – Friday 20 October, 2017. Each day pilgrims will have the opportunity for daily Mass, either said by Fr Josep, or will attend a Eucharist in one of the local parishes. There will also be opportunities for silence, prayer, personal reflection, spiritual conversation and sharing in small groups.
Josep was born in 1959, is a Jesuit priest from Spain. A biologist, counsellor and theologian, Josep is a professor at HTSI-School of Tourism Saint Ignatius at the University Ramon Llull in Barcelona. He is also the Director of the Office of the Ignatian Camino. In 2011, he was commissioned to design and promote the Ignatian Camino and continues to focus on this task. We are very pleased to have the Jesuit who designed the route of the Ignatian Camino be our guide in 2017.
On 1 October 2013 our group of twenty pilgrims walked Stage 27 of the Ignatian Camino from Montserrat to Manresa. In September-October 2013 I was with the group of twenty pilgrims — Dani Chamberlin, Amanda Hickey, Helen Lucas, Jan Sebastian, John Fitzgerald, Joe Taylor, Kay Quisenberry, Larry and Geraldine Naismith, Michael Bertie and Jan Fitzpatrick, Paddy Mugavin, Patrick Hynes, Peter and Chona Walden, Sandra and Vin Dillon, Tracy Ling and Stephen Delbridge — that was the first group to walk the Ignatian Camino from Loyola to Manresa.
Almost three years later, having just completed an eight-day retreat at the Cova de St Ignasi at the International Centre for Ignatian Spirituality in Manresa, Spain, as I looked out my window I had the idea of retracing our steps on the last Stage from Montserrat to Manresa.
So, on 16 July 2016, I did. I took the train to Montserrat and stayed overnight. Then at 7.30am I began to retrace our steps. My sense of direction is not very acute, and I didn’t have Larry Naismith, Michael Bertie and Peter Walden to help with navigation as I had three years ago, so I was concerned about getting lost. However, the Wikiloc app for the iPhone proved to be an incredible help. It warned me when I got off track, which only happened once during the day.
I also had a paper copy of the map in my pocket and Josep Lluis Iriberri SJ’s description of the 27th stage on the official web site:
Some of the track was as I remembered it, but some of the route has, I think, been changed as you get closer to Manresa.
I left the hotel at the Benedictine Monastery at Montserrat at 7.00am and went over to the Basilica to make a visit to the same Black Madonna as Ignatius did in 1522. He made a general confession and then an all-night vigil before the image of the Black Madonna. Sensing a desire to spend a few days in a hospice recording some reflections, he then made his way to a nearby town called Manresa. He would remain there almost eleven months, and it was here that Ignatius wrote down his experiences of God, which became the Spiritual Exercises. I wanted to retrace his path too.
Then I walked down the road through the car parks and headed towards the hermitage of St. Cecilia about 3.5km away. At the shrine of St. Cecilia I left the road and took a track paved down to the right, which led to Sant Cristofol.
It was on this section that the decent was steep and the walking very slow as I picked my way down rocks and stones. I was very grateful for the walking poles, which I purchased from an Arab shopkeeper in Jerusalem. It would have been almost impossible for me to go down without the steadying help of walking poles.
I stopped for a cool drink at a roadside restaurant called El Raco. I remember that we stopped there in 2013.
After 14.3km I reached Castellgalí. Only ten kilometres to go and the sun was getting very hot just before midday. I again purchased a cool drink. I was pleased that I did because by the time I got to Manresa I had drunk the entire 3 litres of water in my Camelbac.
It was at Castellgalí that we stopped in 2013 stopped in a small park. Here Helen and Tracy went on the seesaw. It is still functional.
There was a water faucet there at which I drenched my head. That is still functional too.
Just after Castellgalí the track follows an old Roman road, which in medieval times was the road which pilgrims from Manresa took on their way up to the monastery at Montserrat. How did they manage the climb up? I found the climb down difficult enough.
There is a section of the track that has changed, for the better. In 2013 we had to walk along a highway for about 500 metres with traffic speeding past. It was quite risky. How concrete barriers have been installed to allow pedestrians some protection.
On the way into Manresa I passed an historical marker, which commemorates the martyrdom of two Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation from Manresa in1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
Finally I get a glimpse of the city of Manresa.
This is the stone wall where we stopped under some shade in 2013 and waited for Larry Naismith and Stephen Delbridge to catch up with us.
Next I saw the Tower of Santa Caterina, a former lookout tower. From there you get a magnificent view of Manresa including the Basilica of La Seu and the retreat house which houses La Cova de Sant Ignasi. Down by the Cardoner River is the Old Bridge which I crossed just as Ignatius of Loyola did almost 500 years ago.
Gillian McIlwain writes:
We have finally made it to Manresa! Thank you for your encouragement.
We are thrilled, as a group, to have completed the Ignatian Camino, as you would understand.
Fr Iriberri SJ has been a wonderful leader and guide. And Slow Walking have been excellent in their support and planning. We have much to share with you when we return to Australia.
The Five Ignatian Pilgrims.
“Day 24: Montserrat to Manresa. Our final full day walking, completing the Ignatian Camino. My boots only just made it. A temporary glue fix in Zaragoza came unstuck, so for the last 10 km they were held together with a piece of string!”
“Day 16: Fraga to Lleida. Crossed the border today into Catalunya and back into more fertile farming land along the River Segre. This curious cow seemed to be raising and eyebrow and asking, ‘What are you doing here?’ A good question to ask on the Camino!”
“Day 17: Lleida to El Palau d’Anglesola. Continuing through farming country. Plenty of fruit trees, wheat, alfalfa and piggeries to add to the country sounds and smells.”
“Day 18: Palau d’Anglesola to Verdu. Wheat, oceans of green and gold wheat with some occasional poppies also sneaking in on the act.”
“Day 19: Rest Day in Verdu, a pretty little town of 1,00 people known for its pottery and for being the birth place of Saint Peter Claver, an inspiring Jesuit priest who dedicated his life to ministering to Africans taken to Colombia as part of the inhuman slave trade of the early 17th Century.”
“Day 20: Verdu to Cervera. Here we are with our target in sight.”
“Day 21: Cervera to Jorba. Some of the small things on the way.”
“Day 22: Jorba to Montserrat. On the ascent to the Benedictine monastery where Saint Ignatius made his final decision to change his life. Our physical pilgrimage is nearing its end, but the interior journey will last for some time yet I think.”
“Day 23: A full day’s rest at Montserrat, though I still felt like an early morning walk. Coming around a corner I had a feeling someone was watching me….”
John Ng writes: “A cool smile of Fr Josep after walking 31.2 km today.”
Gillian McIlwain writes:
“Here we are with a group of cycling Ignatian pilgrims who had left Loyola only 1 week ago and had been watching out for us along the way. They are a group of cyclists from Manresa who drove their cars and bikes to Loyola and started from there.
They had written to Fr Iriberri SJ before they left and were expecting to see us along the way — of course they were thrilled when they found us at lunch just outside La Panadella! They passed us a few times between our lunch stop and Jorba.
We are setting out for Montserrat tomorrow and are ready to change our clothes and become the true pilgrims walking to Jerusalem!”
“Gailur to Alagon. If you know Don Quixite, we came across his sidekick Sancho Panza today. He looked like he was with us on our pilgrimage journey.”
“Day 12 — Rest Day in Zaragoza. We visited the patroness of Spain here at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar on the bank of the Ebro Rover. For the rowing girls, if you look carefully you can see a boat on racks in the foreground. I didn’t see anyone actually on the river though, despite the good weather.”