Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Glasgow
What do pilgrims get from walking in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius Loyola? Those who walk from town to town on the Camino Ignaciano with the Spanish Jesuits probably get blistered feet. But in common with the pilgrims led by British Jesuits from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre Glasgow, they get two great gifts of God: a deeper understanding of St Ignatius and the Spiritual Exercises, and the camaraderie of those who travel on foot together with a shared goal.
"I read the biography of St Ignatius" said Margaret, who travelled on a Jesuit-led pilgrimage, "but hearing about the man, and walking the same streets he did and praying in the same churches he did, really brings him to life."
Seeing the pencil drawing of the ship one of St Ignatius’ brothers sailed in with Columbus in 1493, possibly drawn by this bold captain for his little brother Inigo (the name Ignatius was baptised with), brings to life the exciting times the young Inigo grew up in. Celebrating Mass in the room in which he was converted to God, enables pilgrims to recognise the grace of God working in their own lives. Listening to the monks of Montserrat chant the office, as they used to in the late fifteenth century, can reveal the beauty of prayer which supported Inigo in the dark days in Manresa.
"For me, the character of Ignatius really came through," said pilgrim John "a man of his times, a passionate, determined man with a great love of the poor. Before I had thought of him as a rather arrogant soldier. Now I see him as a humble pilgrim trying to find God's will, and having to frequently change direction on his pilgrim road."
Pilgrims have time for prayer, and time to share their stories with others as they amble along the road, or share a meal, and they come to see the needs and loves of others as they pray together.
Bonds of friendship grow. With Internet communication, the last group have continued to share their lives, including sharing grief at the death of a pilgrim friend, and joyful greetings at Christmas and Easter.
(Camino Ignaciano www.caminoignaciano.org/en offer information and a full walking one month pilgrimage from Loyola to Manresa. For the fit.
ISC is offering two pilgrimages; Ignatian Spain and Ignatian Rome next year. Both pilgrimages are for people who are able to walk at a normal walking pace on paved streets.
Discover more on pilgrimage
Today is the feast of Saint James! We look back at an account by Sebastian Cichocki about his 5 week trek along the Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St James.
Pray with us and St James, whose feast we celebrate today!