Stage 26: Montserrat – Manresa (23.5 km)

Today was our final stage of the Ignatian Camino, the descent from Montserrat to Manresa. Before we left we walked over to the Basilica and venerated the Black Madonna.

The Black Madonna at Montserrat

The Black Madonna at Montserrat

A look back at our hotel tucked in under the mountain

A look back at our hotel tucked in under the mountain

Amanda looking back at Montserrat (the serrated mountain)

Amanda looking back at Montserrat (the serrated mountain)

I anticipated that this would be an easy day, but it was difficult. The weather was hot — Larry Naismith said it was 34°C  — and it was humid. It felt as though it was the hottest day we had walked in.

Me keeping cool in the middle of a very hot afternoon

Me keeping cool in the middle of a very hot afternoon

Trying to keep cool in 34C heat

Trying to keep cool in 34C heat

The track down from Montserrat was very rocky

The track down from Montserrat was very rocky

Walking down an old Roman road built in the Third Century

John Fitzgerald, Amanda Hickey and Patrick Hynes walking down an old Roman road built in the Third Century

Our first view of the Centre of Ignatian Spirituality at Manresa

Our first view of the Centre of Ignatian Spirituality at Manresa

The bridge across the Cardoner River

The bridge across the Cardoner River

Today we were following in the footsteps of Ignatius of Loyola who we know walked from Montserrat to Manresa 
on March 25th, 1522. He lived in Manresa for the next eleven months. His favourite place to pray was the Cave; a natural grotto facing Montserrat and over which the Church, the Jesuit Residence and the Retreat House are built. His experiences there would bear fruit in his spiritual masterpiece, the Spiritual Exercises.

Michael Bertie told us at dinner this evening that, according to his GPS, we have walked 686 km since we left Loyola.

This evening I said Mass  for the group in the cave where Ignatius composed his Spiritual Exercises. It was a great privilege.

Mass in the cave at Manresa

Michael Smith, Tracy Ling and Paddy Mugavin Mass in the cave at Manresa

Mass in the cave

Mass in the cave with Tracy, Paddy and Amanda

Late in life, Ignatius dictated a short Autobiography. In it he summarized the depth of his experiences at Manresa, and in particular while he sat beside the River Cardoner:

He sat down for a little while with his face toward the river…While he was seated there, the eyes of his understanding began to be opened; not that he saw any vision, but he understood and learned many things…with so great an enlightenment that everything seemed new to him.” He added, “even if he gathered up all the various helps he may have had from God, he does not think he had got as much as at that one time.

Contemplation to attain the love of God

Today I suggested an “Ignatian repetition” — we repeated the same meditation as yesterday, but this time we focused on the time of pilgrimage. We reviewed the various stages of our journey and we thanked God for the experiences we have had and the blessings we received as we prepare to return to our everyday routine.

The grace. Today I ask the Father to give me an intimate knowledge of the many gifts I have received during this pilgrimage so that, filled with gratitude for all of these, I may love and serve the Divine Majesty in everything I undertake.

I also spoke to the group about the difficulties of re-entry after an experience like this.

9 thoughts on “Stage 26: Montserrat – Manresa (23.5 km)

  1. congratulations Michael and to you all, “pilgrims of the heart”. I have been praying for you all and may the graces abound! Thank you too for allowing me to see Manresa again

  2. Congratulations Michael and Pilgrims, a wonderful achievement. To be able to share in some small way in this wonderful pilgrimage in the footsteps of Ignatius has been a great experience for us. The photographs have been a great accompaniment and have continued to “keep the fire burning within” as we have both reflected on our journeys in that place.
    Our love and blessings Wayne and Stephanie

  3. Michael, congratulations to you and all the Ignatian pilgrims on your arrival at Manresa. Celebrate abundantly!! Gerard Boyce, in Castejon heading for Alfaro.

    • Congratulations – what a great effort by all of you. May the blessings of your journey continue to give you life as you journey home.

  4. Congratulations, Michael and Pilgrims, on a journey completed and one resumed (i.e., “normal” life)! Love and blessings to you! Thank you for sharing this with us all.

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