July 13: Time to Say Goodbye

We left Barcelona this morning, bound for our layover at London Heathrow. Our feet are still tired from the pilgrimage, but fair to say our hearts are full. The boys have commented that they miss their families, and of course, their beds. After a half a day of flying, we hope to arrive in Phoenix in the late afternoon on Saturday. St. Ignatius and Our Lady of the Way, pray for us!

July 12: Back to Barcelona

Today we spent the morning in Manresa. We had mass in the cave of Ignatius. Then we walked around the medieval town if Manresa and learned what Ignatius did when he arrived. We saw the well where a miracle was performed in his name. We had lunch then we were off to Barcelona.

The train ride was short and we came back to hostel that we stayed at the first night. A few of us when back to Barcelona for some shopping then we took the metro back to Badalona and spend the evening by the beach. We came back to the hostel and chilled and waited for our journey home the next day.

By: Hunter Gruler

July 12: Ignatius in Manresa

In being the last day of the trip, it was very spiritual. Mass first thing in the morning was powerful to say the least. In the cave, you could feel the presence of Ignatius. Imagining him praying in the same spot that we were was a very special experience.

As we walked around the streets, we learned about all of the places that Ignatius would have worked, healed, or prayed such as the hotel and the basilica. We also saw what the town of Manresa would have looked like at his time. Overall, the city of Manresa was much anticipated and lived up to our expectations.

By: James Church

July 11: Are we at Manresa yet?!

Today we began our journey atop the highest point in all of Cataluña (Montserrat) and finished 25 kilometers away in Manresa. The heat and incline made this hike arguably the most challenging leg of our journey. Our bodies, which were fueled by chocolate and pastry dough for a good part of the morning, ached and sweat. After a quick stop for coffee and drinks, we continued our journey. We chased a tall yellow flag for the last few miles, and crossed a stone bridge over a canal to reach our final destination. Looking over our shoulders, we saw the mountain we started at this morning in the distance and felt proud of our efforts. Most of the pilgrims went straight to bed for a quick nap. The other pilgrims hit the town in search of souvenirs and food. We regrouped at 8 and celebrated our journey with a replenishing meal of fish, chicken, and vegetable soup. We finished our day with a very moving but brief prayer service in the cave Ignatius lived in for 10 months. Tomorrow we look forward to our journey back to Barcelona via train.

By: Max Murphy

July 11: The Spiritual Stamp of Manresa

Today, our physical journey came to an end, but our spiritual journey continues. The theme we reflected on today was a Sense of Inner Peace. Waking up at 5:30, we quickly got ready and began hiking with a silent hour to reflect on our major accomplishments and their influence on our family. After hiking for more hours and stopping to eat, we had another silent hour to reflect on future actions and incorporating peace into our lives. Finally, after hours of hiking, we reached Manresa, where we were able to relax and feast on lunch.

Following lunch and subsequent free time, we received the last stamp on our Pilgrims’ Passport and received our certificates of completion, reflecting on our journey. Then, after eating dinner, we visited the cave where Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises, having our penultimate reflection on our journey and considering our future and favorite moments. Finally, we went to bed after a long day, where we would have our final day of spiritual pilgrimage tomorrow.

By: Will Hays

July 10: Up to Montserrat

We woke up early, as normal at 5:45, ready for Monserrat. We cleaned and wished our hostel goodbye as we boarded a bus towards Monserrat. After a short bus ride through the city. We started walking.

We climbed up a several mountains, through beautiful peaks and forrests, stopping at St. Sicilian’s, a small parish to have lunch. We finally reached the mountain of Monserrat after walking along the road and ascended up. We walked around Monserrat in awe of the magnificent structures built into the side of a mountain and the exceptionally high prices for Fanta Limon.

After a long and well deserved break, the group gathered in the basilica for a prayer service, accompanied by booming organs and choirs. After a seafood dinner, we celebrated mass in a private room near the basilica and got to bed around 10:30.

By: Tommy Logan

10 July: Finding God in Montserrat

Throughout our 14 kilometer walk today, our two silent hour contemplation topics were senses of honesty and respecting all life. The first one presented the opportunity for us to privately confess to God, and to be open and honest about any of our wrongdoings. The second one was about the respect for all life, including an emphasis on the respect for women, as a group of twenty-five men.

After we got settled in Montserrat, two groups did some extra walking. One group hiked another half hour to the cross and another group ran up a hill to St. Jerome to witness the breathtaking view, which very conveniently lead into our nightly reflection. Our reflection question was what about mountaintops give them that sense of renewal; the perfect question after conquering the hardest uphill day of the Camino.

We had a busy evening after the optional excursions. We had a prayer service at the Montserrat Basilica at 6:30, and it was such a unique experience. It was one hour straight of the monks singing various psalms in Catalan, which some incense in the middle. After the service, we had a special reflection in a little chapel area, where we actually got to say a prayer to Our Lady of Montserrat. Father held a mass after the prayer, and our group relinquished various burdens to the altar of Montserrat, similar to how Ignatius surrendered his sword, and effectively, his life as a soldier.

By: Josh LaFronz

July 9: Can 21m/33km kill a person?

We woke up at 05:00 and we set off for the edge of town where Señor told us to contemplate our own mortality. As we considered the topic of death, God blessed us with a heavenly thunderstorm that drove us into the tunnel for protection. We then continued our journey through the thunderstorm and our socks got soaked. Eventually the rain stopped and he sun arose. After the divine intervention this morning we stopped for a coffee break. After our break we continued on with our prayer time. The second leg of our journey was a lot more lighthearted since the weather had calmed down. We finished our 21 mile hike in record time; 9 hours. For the most part, our feet feel sore; it’s amazing how far your body can take you, though. The father said that we were the fastest pilgrims he has ever traveled with. We arrived at the hostel at Jorba and took a well deserved siesta. Thus ending our longest stretch and most painful day. Through it all dinner was amazing.

By: Max Alegria and Aaron Rivera

9 July: A lot to think about

Over the past 3 or so days, we have experienced some of the most extreme heat of any Brophy camino. This led to most of us wishing for air conditioning in each hostel we stopped at. I guess the age old saying “Be careful what you wish for” is true, because today we were showered with God’s air conditioning, rain. During this time, we were called to think about morality. It was ironic because at the beginning, there was a sense of lack of energy because we knew it was the furthest walk of the trip and fathers constant jokes of death. However, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the rain woke us up. The second hour of mediation was used to contemplate intelligence. Personally, my mind drifted to thoughts of teachers who had influenced me up to this point in my life until I realized I had a blister forming in my right foot. Oddly enough, I actually began to walk faster as I began to push myself past the pain by thinking about Ignatius walking the same path barefoot and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom in the United States. Lastly, we underwent reflection with the daily examen and the journaling. It gave us a lot to think about, including how the trip has been beneficial for us and how we have been called to act and live throughout the trip. Overall, the trip from Cervera to Jorba has given us a lot to think about.

By: Weston Bush



July 6: Onward to Palau

We started our walk today from the hostel in Lleida. There was a quick transition between the city and the surrounding farmland. Our first long stop was at a restaurant with an outdoor patio where we ate a breakfast on sandwiches and omelets. Our legs didn’t hurt much because we they were so fresh from taking the bus the day before to Lleida. We finally reached Mollerusa after walking 17 miles. We ate lunch and spent time at the pool before going reflecting on our day and getting some much needed rest.

By: Henry Ingram