Four Principles of Pilgrimage

We have taken a rather brisk tour through the life of St. Ignatius during the past few weeks, following the pilgrimage that is his life story. Now let’s glean some general principles of pilgrimage that apply to each one of us. 1. Pilgrimage presents itself, but we decide to go or stay. Ignatius could have responded in other ways to his months of healing from the cannonball incident. He could have set his mind in […]

Pilgrim, See Your Path

Today, imagine a long, thin trail ahead of you. You see it disappear down distant hills, only to reappear on even more distant hilltops. This trail wanders to the left and then turns back on itself. It weaves over bare fields, down the Main Streets of small towns. It works its way through tall trees in one spot, tall buildings in another. In some places, the trail is dotted with many other pilgrims. Some talk […]

Pilgrimage

Immediately after his recovery from the wounds of battle sustained at Pamplona, St. Ignatius set out to make a pilgrimage to the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat in Spain. There he spent an all-night vigil before the Black Madonna and surrendered his sword to her. This marked the formal ending to any hopes of a military career and his total dedication to serving Christ under the patronage of Our Lady. It also marked Ignatius’s recognition that […]

Finding the Purpose

Casey Beaumier, SJ, experienced many uncomfortable shifts during his weeks of pilgrimage, walking from place to place, begging for food and shelter, and allowing strangers to become friends. During all of that, he struggled to understand where the journey was leading. Why was he here? What was he doing? I returned to Gonzaga grumpy and completely drained of any remaining confidence in myself. I felt completely fragile. We sat at dinner with two Jesuits, the […]

The Way of Pilgrimage

A few months ago, I went on pilgrimage to Ireland and Scotland, to visit sites important to Celtic Christianity. I had been on pilgrimage before but had never been to this part of the world. I was with a group of Episcopalians from my sister-in-law’s church in Florida. So, in addition to absorbing the pilgrimage, I was making a number of new friends. How does a person “do” pilgrimage? For someone like me, from the […]

Three Pilgrimage Experiences

St. Ignatius referred to himself as a pilgrim, and many followers of the Ignatian way have used special times of pilgrimage to encounter God more deeply. Today we highlight three examples. Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, made a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and encountered great generosity and hospitality, as he explains in this five-minute video. Fr. Casey Beaumier, SJ, also did a pilgrimage during his early formation as […]

Summer Pilgrimage

We’ve talked about walking prayer. We can take walking prayer further and make a pilgrimage. Actually, summer could be an ideal time for pilgrimage if you tend to take vacation during summer months. Many of us use vacation time to journey to hometowns and visit family. A hometown can be the location for profound pilgrimage. For instance, your parents or aunt may still live in the town where you spent your childhood years. Childhood holds all […]

St. Ignatius Loyola’s 10 Guidelines for Negotiating Life’s Journey

One June morning, Brendan McManus, SJ, stepped out for a much-needed walk—to be exact, a 500-mile hike on Spain’s renowned Camino de Santiago. A few years earlier, he lost his brother to suicide, and the tragedy left Brendan physically, psychologically, and spiritually wounded. Something radical was required to rekindle his passion for life and renew his faith in God. In Redemption Road: From Grief to Peace through Walking the Camino de Santiago, McManus tells his […]

Pilgrims and Students

I’m ready to start teaching again. Syllabi are set, with handouts and lectures ready to go for the first week. And my hiking shoes are nearly broken in. I don’t need them to walk the halls, but to climb mountains. One of the courses I’m teaching includes going on a field trip to Japan, where we will walk some of the historic 88-temple pilgrimage circuit on the mountainous island of Shikoku. If past trips are […]

Leaving Behind the Shoes

About halfway into my time on the Camino de Santiago, my toes began to develop blisters. I had planned my footwear carefully, researching many conflicting shoe recommendations on websites where fellow travelers on the Camino had shared their advice: hiking boots vs. shoes, trail runners with or without waterproofing; half a dozen different recommendations on socks. I tried on at least nine or ten different pairs of shoes at three different outdoor shops, before finally […]

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