This past week or so I’ve been following a group of Australian pilgrims as they walk the Ignatian Camino, a 340-mile pilgrimage route in northeastern Spain that starts in the town of Loyola and ends at Manresa. It’s the route that Ignatius traveled after his conversion. A group of Jesuits and laypeople established the route two years ago, and a growing number of pilgrims are following Ignatius’s footsteps.
I’m following 20 people led by Fr. Michael Smith, SJ. He writes a lively and informative blog, Walking with Inigo, that’s updated every day. It’s part of a website that’s full of information about the Camino and the place of pilgrimage in the Ignatian tradition. Ignatius called himself “the pilgrim,” and he wanted all men entering the Society to have a pilgrim’s heart. In one of his posts Fr. Smith quotes Ignatius’s words about the benefits of pilgrimage:
. . . so that they can get used to eating badly and sleeping badly, and so that, at the same time, leaving aside all the hope and expectation that they might have of money or other created things, they might place it whole-heartedly, with true faith and intense love, in their Creator and Lord.