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A group of parents, alumni and a former teacher of a Jesuit School in Arizona, Brophy College Preparatory, visited the city of Manresa to complete their pilgrimage of the Ignatian Way (Camino Ignaciano). 

They started their journey on July 4th from the birthplace of Ignatius of Loyola, in the Basque Country, to finish walking in Manresa. “Everyone knows the Way of St. James (el Camino de Santiago de Compostela), however, few know of the existence of the Ignatian Way”, says Catharine Steffens, who recently transitioned from Brophy to Georgetown Preparatory School near Washington D.C., and is one of the organizers the trip.

Throughout the day the group visited the streets and spaces that represent the most emblematic moments of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s time in Manresa.

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They went from the Cave of St. Ignatius to the Basilica of Santa María. From there the walk continued through the Plaza Mayor and the Chapel of Sant Ignasi, the Sick, before arriving to the Well of the Hen (Pou de la Gallina). Several of the group also stopped off for some shopping in the Historic Centre.

“We think it is important to get to know the Ignatian Way” said Catharine Steffens on her way to the Chapel of the Rapture. She stressed the importance of Manresa: “I came from Washington D.C. to do this; do you know all you have here? “. One could breathe the emotion in the air after the ten-day walking pilgrimage, which wasn’t only the bliss of finishing something, but also of hearts filled with joy.

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The group walked many of the same roads as Saint Ignatius of Loyola did almost 500 years ago. As Josep Lluís Iriberri S.J., Director the Ignatian Way recalls at the Chapel of Rapture: “the arrival to Manresa meant having reached the end of a cultural and spiritual journey”.

This is Catharine Steffens’ second consecutive year to visit Manresa. Last summer she accompanied eight American students who were joined by a group of Catalan students from several Jesuit schools in Barcelona (FJE) to walk together the Ignatian Way. The experience was so successful that this year parents and alumni also wanted to do the pilgrimage. In the group there were representatives from six US Jesuit institutions, two high schools and four universities. The next day, the group set off for Barcelona, where they continued to visit the Ignatian sites of Catalonia. Soon after this visit, more students from Arizona and Catalonia took up the Ignatian Way to Manresa.    

Note: If your school is interested in the Ignatian Way Pilgrimage please contact Catharine Steffens at [email protected]

Source: This blog is based on an article published in the July 15th edition of the Regió7 – Catalan Newspaper written by ZEYNABU SAID XIXONS.