Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center


Ignatian Spain Pilgrimage

Ignatian Spain Pilgrimage

On the morning of February 15, 2013, nine students, Fr. Ted Bohr, S.J., and SLA Russell Gonzalez convened in front of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain and under the spires of Gaudi’s masterpiece, the inaugural Ignatian pilgrimage to Catalonia began.

After a morning exploring Gaudi’s Gothic fairytale, the pilgrims had an organic lunch at Els Pollos de Llull, a restaurant that emphasizes sustainability and flavor. With full bellies and hungry hearts, the group completed a walking retreat, visiting the sites of St. Ignatius’ life during his short but meaningful stay in Barcelona. Highlights included a medieval gateway and the house where St. Ignatius sojourned with Ines Pascual. To rejuvenate their tired bodies, the pilgrims made a quick pit stop at the Museu de la Xocolata to grab a luxurious hot chocolate snack! After a short bit of free time, the group reconvened for a tapas dinner at a neighborhood staple and called it a night.

Early the next morning, the pilgrims set off from Barcelona to the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat. The cable car up the mountain gave the group a stunning view of the mountain range and the valley below. Once they arrived at the monastery, they heard a bit of the Mass in Catalan and had a quiet moment with La Moreneta, a wooden statue of a black Madonna. Later in the day, the group ascended the remainder of the mountain in a funicular to look out from the top. The group separated and met later for an excellent tapas dinner.

On the final morning, the pilgrims attended Mass at the Cathedral of Barcelona, which is dedicated to Santa Eulalia (a patroness of the city). The Mass was in Catalan, but Fr. Bohr graciously provided the group with the readings in English. They recapped their journey, both spiritual and cultural, and said fond farewells, at least until they got back to dinner mensa that night!