On the Camino

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.


  1. LOL I wondered!
    There are so many wonderful resources for making the Exercises on your own, chief among them Kevin O’Brien’s book ( I have several related books, different approaches to the Exercises) and the Creighton site. But I don’t think there’s any substitute for making them with the companionship of a gifted guide who listens to your story and prayer and adapts the experience to your life.
    I filled out a lengthy Lilly Foundation survey today on the experience of preparing for ministry, and I wanted just to scrawl across the whole thing, with all of its questions about mentors and studies and practical experience and leadership training: The Exercises.

    • Yep. The Examen is about the only scripted prayer form I utilize. It suits me because it is formatted but flexible, we can spend more time on one stage than another or switch stages around) so it guides my thoughts without telling me what to say. Someone else’s words don’t always flow the way you even understand sometimes. Jesus prayed a lot with his own words along with Psalms etc.

    • I did it a couple of times and the third time (second?) I just got bored like I do with anything I do for too long. That is me though, I need newness and change. It can be an insightful as you work it with your life and ADLs, plus it follows the liturgical season if you start it on the starting date so you have the same lessons deepened.


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