A small group of pilgrims have arrived in Loyola to begin the Ignatian Camino. 4 Australians and one man from Hong Kong will begin walking the Ignatian Camino today, 1 May 2014. They will be guided by Fr Josep Lluis Iriberri SJ, the Spanish Jesuit from Barcelona who developed the Ignatian Camino, and Imanol Goikoetxea a guide from Slow Walking, the travel company which has organised the pilgrimage. Here is part of the group at dinner in Loyola.
From L to R: John Ng, Sarah Davies, Gillian McIlwain, Andy Walsh and Fr Josep Lluis Iriberri SJ
Gillian, Andrew, Sarah, Josep and John (seated) get acquainted with Saint Ignatius
Today the group visited the 500 year-old Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene in Azpeitia, the town near Loyola. The hostel has recently been renovated. Ignatius lived here for about three months when he came home from Paris. Aged forty-three, he had just graduated with a Masters degree in theology from the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris. Later in life he was often called “Master Ignatius”.
Although he had been invited by his sister-in-law, María Magdalena Araoz, to stay at the family castle in Loyola, he preferred to live at the hospital and tend to the sick. He supported himself by begging. During his stay he preached, taught catechism to children, and reconciled many families in town. He arranged to speak to the adults three times a week but, because he was so popular, he changed this into a daily explanation of the faith.
The newly renovated hospital of St Mary Magdalene in Azpeitia
The place in the hospital where Saint Ignatius slept (on the floor of course!) during his stay
The window under which Saint Ignatius slept at the hospital
Fresco showing Saint Ignatius preaching to adults in Azpeitia
Fresco in Azpeitia showing Saint Ignatius teaching catechism to children
Fr John Fitzgerald, the Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Church, Warnambool in the Diocese of Ballarat, Victoria, was one of four Catholic priests who walked the Ignatian Camino in September. Shortly after his return to Australia, he was interviewed on ABC Radio on 15 October. You can listen to his interview by clicking here. You can also view some of his photos on the ABC website.
Fr John Fitzgerald standing by a cross in the church at Tarrega which has various symbols of the crucifixion
Fr John Fitzgerald on the Ignatian Camino
Fr Michael Smith SJ and Fr John Fitzgerald
I got a message from our Basque guide Fermin Lopetegui that our pilgrimage features in the electronic news for the Manresa region in El Diari de la Catalunya Central. You can see the article by clicking on El Diari de la Catalunya Central
The article is in Catalan. Using Google Translate it reads:
MANRESA The trickle of pilgrims who follow the path of Saint Ignatius from Loyola and Manresa continues. Four days ago the first German to go from start to finish came to the cave shrine, and soon we expect a group of twenty people linked to a university in Melbourne (Australia) .
The Basque Lopetegui Fermin, the first pilgrim to complete the full path in March last year, also did it in reverse in March this year. He walked with the group from Loyola to Logroño, where they arrived on Monday this week. On Tuesday they took a rest day . The average age is sixty. On Wednesday — the National Day — they resumed the route, the Stage from Logroño to Alcanadre.
They started from the Sanctuary at Loyola on 3 September. In addition there were three Germans and one person from Caceres. This week we have had two more pilgrims start, one yesterday and one the day before yesterday. One of them wants to make it to Logroño and next year will journey from there, and the other, from Bilbao, will decide on whether to fly or walk the full path .
Leading the group is the Australian Jesuit Fr Michael Smith, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity in Melbourne and Director of Campion Centre of Ignatian spirituality in the same city. Two years ago Fr Smith completed the Camino de Santiago, and when he heard about the Camino Ignaciano he wanted to follow him. In March he began preparations for the journey which will be done in 28 days. Fr Smith also created a website (Walking with Iñigo: The Ignatian Camino — In the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola ) which is a comprehensive travel diary with explanations of each Stage , photographs and videos. There is also information about Saint Ignatius, route maps , the official website of the way, and how to prepare, among other things. On the Stage before yesterday he put up a picture of his swollen leg after making more than 33 kilometres in one day.