After Ignatius left Loyola, he traveled to the shrine of Our Lady of Arantzazu. As he writes in A Pilgrim’s Testament, “The pilgrim prayed there that he might gain fresh strength for his journey.” There is strong Marian devotion in the Basque region and the mountain shrine is now a large basilica honoring Mary’s appearance to a shepherd boy among the thorn bushes in 1468. We began our day with a visit to this sacred place.
As we continued in the footsteps of Ignatius today, we knew we would be encountering the hardest stage of our journey as we ascended the peaks of Aizkorri-Artz National Park. Our guide, Ignacio, led us through the forest and thorn bushes encouraging us with the promise of a beautiful alpine meadow at the top. The first of our group who walked into the clearing, shouted back, “The promised land!” The sight was breathtaking and we share a short video here of the wild horses grazing in the meadow. The sound you will hear are the cowbells of the herd following us into this place of rest.