A Glimpse of My Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome

As I mentioned earlier this month, I had the privilege of enjoying a pilgrimage to Spain and Rome to follow in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. I can’t thank Loyola Press enough for making this sacred journey possible! Here are some pics I took that help to capture the essence of the dramatic story of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Here I am in Loyola, the birthplace of Ignatius (1491). Although he sought a military career, his plans were destroyed by a canon ball (1521) which shattered his knee (depicted in the statue next to which I am standing). While recuperating (after nearly dying), he sought to pass the time by reading tales of adventure and romance but all that was available were books about the life of Christ and the saints. By studying and reflecting on these, he came to realize he was fighting for the wrong army! What "cannon ball" experiences have you had—experiences that forced you to change the direction of your life?
Here I am in Loyola, the birthplace of Ignatius (1491). Although he sought a military career, his plans were destroyed by a canon ball (1521) which shattered his knee (depicted in the statue next to which I am standing). While recuperating (after nearly dying), he sought to pass the time by reading tales of adventure and romance, but all that was available were books about the life of Christ and the saints. By studying and reflecting on these, he came to realize he was fighting for the wrong army. What “cannon ball” experiences have you had—experiences that forced you to change the direction of your life?
Mass in Loyola
Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, our publisher, leads us at Mass in the Loyola room where Ignatius experienced his conversion while recuperating from his wounds.
This is the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, where Ignatius laid down his sword.
This is the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, where Ignatius laid down his sword.
After his conversion, Ignatius makes a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat where he made a general confession and laid down his sword
After his conversion, Ignatius made a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat where he made a general confession and laid down his sword. The sword is now kept in this glass case at Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona. What “defenses” do you need to surrender?
After his conversion, Ignatius went into seclusion, living in a cave in Manresa (1522), where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises. Here, my hands trace the crosses that he carved into the cave wall.
After his conversion, Ignatius went into seclusion, living in a cave in Manresa (1522), where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises. Here, my hand traces the crosses that he carved into the cave wall. Where do you go to find seclusion and solitude?
Here I am at St. Paul Outside the Wall in Rome where Ignatius and his 5 companions, including Francis Xavier, made their vows to begin the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits in 1541.
Here I am at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome where Ignatius and his five companions, including Francis Xavier, made their vows to begin the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1541. Who do you “stand with” and what do you “stand for”?
A pair of shoes that belonged to Ignatius, on display in the house he lived in for 17 years next to the Gesu Church in Rome. Whose "shoes" do you revere/honor? Who is someone that walked in faith before you that you seek to emulate?
This pair of shoes belonged to Ignatius and are now on display in the house he lived in for 17 years next to Rome’s Gesu Church. Whose “shoes” do you revere/honor? Who is someone that walked in faith before you that you seek to emulate?

 

Fr. Paul Campbell, our publisher, leading us at Mass in Ignatius' own chapel in a house where Ignatius lived for 17 years next to the Gesu Church in Rome.
Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, our publisher, leads us at Mass in Ignatius’ own chapel in the house where Ignatius lived in Rome. It was here that Ignatius died on July 31, 1556.

 

This is the wonderful group I had the pleasure of traveling with. Many thanks, Loyola Press!
This is the wonderful group I had the pleasure of traveling with. Many thanks, Loyola Press!
About Joe Paprocki 2360 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

5 Comments on A Glimpse of My Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome

  1. Wow, I didn’t know there was a Manresa in Spain. There’s a Jesuit retreat center in Convent, Louisiana called Manresa. How appropriate that it’s a retreat center not unlike Iggy’s cave. Now I wonder if it was started when Spain governed La. Interesting.

  2. What a wonderful reflection on your travels and an invitation to your readers to reflect on their own lives by journeying with you on an “Internet Pilgrimage” to the places of significance in St. Ignatius’ life. I have written the questions you pose in my date book for the week prior to Ignatius’ feast and will take the pilgrimage then. Thanks for the opportunity to travel with this great saint, and for giving me an idea of how to present some lives of the saints with meaning for those I catechize. Grace and peace!

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