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Manresa and Beyond: Gathering Our Graces

We were invited to attend morning mass in La Cova and it was an intimate experience. There were many pilgrims attending that day, but the Jesuit priest warmly welcomed all to fit into the space. We were pressed right into the rock wall that sheltered Ignatius, and the stone ledge had nooks and spaces that we could lean into. Mass was in Catalan, so between trying to understand the mixture of Spanish/French/Italian sounding words, we were free to contemplate Ignatius’ life with God in this space. It is amazing to think that this is were he came to know that all is gift from a loving God. We were grateful for this chance to come La Cava as companions getting ready to depart, and receive a blessing in this sacred place.

During our final “Taste and See” examen, we reflected on the many ways that we had seen, heard, tasted, smelled, touched and felt the presence of of God in our days. We have become more deeply aware of the ways that God has shed light on our lived experience and guided our movements.

We are grateful! We are grateful for our guide Ignacio, who truly embodied the spirit of his namesake, Ignacio de Loyola. His continual kindness, compassion and humor enabled us to walk the distance even when we thought we couldn’t. Ignacio earned the nickname “The Good Shepherd”, for one day, he literally went back to find two pilgrims that had strayed off the path. Without Ignacio, we all would have been lost.

We are grateful for each other. We have been thirteen companions, all curious about following in the footsteps of Ignatius, but also open to the experience of sharing along the way and breaking bread together. We had stories to tell, and the deep listening we gave to each other made us aware of God presence in our ordinary lives. We are grateful for our loved ones and colleagues at home that made this experience possible. We are blessed to come home to a loving parish community, St. Ignatius of Loyola, that also strives to walk in the footsteps of Ignatius.

We ended our journey by traveling into Barcelona to visit the Basilica de La Sagrada Familia. Many years under construction and still not yet finished! Here we are together under the canopy of the Gaudi “trees” (main columns), with the light and color of the amazing stained glass windows. Like this cathedral, we are all still in formation. We depart as “friends in the Lord”, knowing that this journey ends, so that others can begin.

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Congratulations to all of you! Thank you for taking us along on your journey. It sounded both difficult and full of love. Safe journeys home to Boston!

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