Today is the first day of summer and we spent it walking many pleasant miles through the vineyards and olive groves of Rioja valley. You can see from our photo here, the grapes are still forming and will not be harvested until September.
We also became more aware today of Ignatius’ long process of formation. After we crossed the Ebro river, we ended our walk in the town of Navarrete which is significant in the life of Ignatius. At the age of 17, Íñigo de Loyola came to Navarrete to work in service to the Duke of Najera for 4 years. When he set out on his pilgrim’s journey to Monserrat (now he is 31), he stopped in Navarrete to collect money that was owed to him. Ignatius’ autobiography records that with this money, he distributed it to persons “to whom he felt indebted”.
The story behind the story here in Navarrete is that Ignatius provided for the care of his daughter, María Villarreal de Loyola. Ignatius was a work in progress, as we all are, at this point in his journey. God continued to guide him in his new life; his transformation expanding with each day, with each step further along on his pilgrim’s journey. You will see here a photo of the statue of Ignatius, the saint up on a pedestal, that we saw in the local church. But it was in the house of Ignatius down the street, where he lived in Navarrete, that we encountered the human story of Ignatius, a man in formation.