We say goodbye to the Mare de Déu de Montserrat and take the same path (dels Degotalls) which took us up to Montserrat on the previous day. As we return on this same road, we now stay to the left as we head back towards the hermitage of St. Cecilia. As we walk along this path parallel to the road, and after passing the tunnel on the right side, we can see the shrine up at the top, next to the road.
At the St. Cecilia shrine, we take a paved road down to our right. A sign indicates “GR-4” Cristofol and we follow its direction. We leave the shrine to the left and go down the paved road. The road we want to take runs parallel to the main road, but below it. We pass the ravines which descend from the mountain.
For pilgrims on bicycle, it is best to follow the dirt road that continues to descend. It turns as we pass some farms which we will notice on our left. In each new trail we always continue down to our right. At the bottom we reach the dry stream and cross to the other side. We then climb the dirt road and eventually come to the end of this road (an iron cross indicates the point) where we meet the pilgrims on foot who have descended down the mountain.
The pilgrims on foot will follow the directions along the GR-4 road which lead to Sant Cristofol. You will notice a sign which indicates a bend in the road. We take the mountain trail which descends steeply. We then follow the red and white GR-4 trails. We reach a wide dirt footpath which we take to the right. Cycling pilgrims join us. We can see yellow arrows going “against the right direction”.
We enter the neighborhood of Can Prat, along the street “Carrer de les Agulles.” We follow the red and white signs along this same street. (Note that at times the signs on the light poles may be covered with pink paint.) Eventually we come to a hairpin turn on our right. Look for the sign which indicates the road to Manresa, to our left. Pay attention because there are two possible routes: the correct road is the one along the red and white GR-4 trail which you will see at the right side of the road. It is the trail perpendicular to the road you just left.
At the next fork: take a right towards the Chapel of St. Jaume de Castellbell. Follow the red and white trails. We find a vertical sign pointing towards Sant Cristòfol de Castellbell. At this point we can divert 2 km to the right, following the signs, to visit the village and the Pozo del Milagro de San Ignacio (the well/spring of St. Ignatius’s miracle). We can also go straight, following the direction towards Sant Jaume de Castellbell. Following to Sant Jaume, we come to a crossroads and turn to the left, leaving Sant Cristòfol behind us. Descend to a stream, following the GR-4 trails. We cross the stream and pass a house on the left. At the next fork we turn right, following the red and white trails. We reach the asphalt road and go left down to the bridge. Here we take the road towards Castellbell and Vilar. Just past the bridge and next to the restaurant there is a path to our left which leads us up higher. A sign indicates the direction to Manresa.
The dirt road joins another that comes from our right. Continue straight ahead and you will see a large pig farm on the left. Just past the farm houses, we come to a fork. Take the road to the left, as the sign indicates. We now leave the red and white trails, and begin to follow the blue and white markings. Take a right at the next fork. This road leads us across a stream and immediately past another path which crosses ours to the right. A sign on the right indicates the direction of Castellgalí and Manresa, and so we take it to the right.
Our route crosses another one, and we take a right. Soon a new road branches off to the left, but we continue straight ahead. We reach the first houses of Castellgalí: an old Excursionista Union sign tells us that we still have 2 hours to Manresa. We take the first street on our left, following the white and blue trail markers. We are now on the street called “Cami de Montserrat” and we continue straight ahead.
We now approach the heart of Castellgalí; we can see the church in front of us, up higher. We approach the church on the street called Sant Antoni. Here we say goodbye to the blue and white signs of the Camino de Santiago Catalan. Our Ignatian Way will continue ahead, past the church façade. Continue straight ahead; at the end of the village houses, look for a dirt road next to a utility pole. A sign indicates that we are now entering the old pilgrim road from Manresa to Montserrat. This tenth century path takes a steep descent down towards highway C-55. We go down to reach the road and then take it to our left. We follow a dirt path along the road about 500m and go past the bridge over a stream. After passing the golf course on the left, we take the middle asphalt road which begins at our left.
We now border the golf course and follow the Can Cornet riverbed to our left. A historical marker commemorates the 1936 martyrdom of two religious sisters in this place. At the fork we go to the right to avoid crossing the stream. After 600 m we pass very close to La Masia (Can Cornet) private house. We take the path that continues on our right; eventually this takes us up to an old stone quarry.
Our road has risen steadily in the form of a “Z”. Large stones in the road help us imagine the presence of the old quarry which we don’t currently see since the road continues to climb. Near the top, next to some fields, our road turns left. About 200m farther, this road meets another which we take to our left. Just a few meters farther, we can see the city of Manresa.
We walk straight ahead, without taking any of the paths that emerge to the right and left. Soon we come to the castle of Mas Oller. After about 1.5km, another road meets us from the left. We arrive at 100m from the castle gates. We turn right and we pass a column that indicates that we are on the old Roman road that surely took to Ignatius to approach Manresa. We leave a path down to our right and continue towards some houses, that we pass along to our left. After a short descent, we arrive at the entrance to another house and at that point we take left a dirt road down to the creek. We descend and cross a small bridge.
We pass the creek and we turn to our right about 50m. We climb a path that we will follow along with a stone wall. Once up we take left and we head towards some houses that we pass and continue straight until a new crossing, with a very visible power poles. At the junction we take on our right, going away from the neighborhood of El Xup in front of us.
Keep walking straight ahead. After a while our road takes a sharp turn right to enter a farm but we continue straight, by an old lane, not very well marked passing between fields. About 200 meters it forks. We take the narrow path to go straight to our right.
Soon this path crosses a paved road. We continue straight ahead towards the Tower of Santa Caterina, a former lookout tower. We head directly to this tower.
As we reach the Tower, we see the city of Manresa in front of us. From this vantage point we can see the Basilica of La Seu and the retreat house building which houses La Cova de Sant Ignasi. Down by the Cardoner River, we can see the Old Bridge. We will have to cross it, just as Ignatius of Loyola did over 500 years ago.
We leave the Tower on a path that runs to the right before heading to La Cova. A steep descent takes us almost to the foot of the shrine of Our Lady of the Guide, which we can see to our right. According to tradition, when Ignatius reached this point, the people were celebrating a pilgrimage to the Virgin. We can imagine that Ignacio thought he should ask the Virgin of the Guide to help him discover his own spiritual path. We take the road to our left and cross the bridge over the railroad tracks. We continue down to the River Cardoner road, and turn right as we head to the Old Bridge.
We cross it with the emotion of those who realize that they are coming to a symbolic location. Ahead of us is the building of La Cova de San Ignacio. At the foot of the bridge, slightly to the left, take the road up to La Cova.
Pilgrims should firstly go to the old Jesuit college in Manresa, 36 Carrer (street) de Sant Ignasi, to seal their credentials and obtain their final certificate in the Pilgrim Reception Office. To get there, once past the old bridge, we ascend beside the hermitage of Saint Marc, up Via (lane) Sant Ignasi, with the Basilica of La Seu above us to our left. After 400m we reach the Plaça (square) de Sant Ignasi and the hermitage del Rapte. The Pilgrim Office of the of the Ajuntament (City Council) of Manresa is just a few metres away.
Albergue de peregrinos. 689.00.83.59 Reserva: https://www.refugipelegrinscastellgali.com/inicio
Ayuntamiento. Tél.938 330 021
CASTELLBELL I EL VILAR
Asociación Taxistas del Valle . 938 28 24 75
Apartamentos Somiarte. Tel: 630 538 838. http://www.somiarte.com/#!bb/ctac/
Apartaments Grup Urbi . C/ Codinella, 9. Entresol 2ª. Tel: 93 876 82 41 – 606 99 35 37
Apartaments la Farola . C/ Canyelles, 5 Tel: 938 73 13 00
Apartaments Manresa . Tel: 660 551 333
Apartaments Turístics . www.manresaapartments.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 660551333
Hostal Turó de la Torre . C/. Sallent, s/n Polígon Els Dolors Tel. 93 873 32 86
Hotel 1948 . Carretera de Santpedor 54 – 58, Tel. 938 748 216.
Hotel Els Noguers** . Avinguda Països Catalans, 167, Tel. 938 743 258.
Pensión La Masia . Plaça Sant Ignasi, 21, Tel. 938 724 237
Pensión Roser Manila Sant Andreu . Carrer Sant Andreu, 9, Tel. 938 725 908.
Radio Taxi Manresa . Tel: 938 744 000
Retreat House and Pilgrim’s Hostel La Cova de Sant Ignasi . Casa d’Exercicis, La Cova de Sant Ignasi.Passatge de la Cova, s/n Tel: 938 720 422. It is essential to call ahead to reserve a room and to indicate the number of days you intend to stay at your lodging. In 2009 alone 32,000 people passed through La Cova and 5,000 participated in its activities. Hopefully, but perhaps not easily, you will find a room!
Taxi Manuel Artero . 630 91 89 00
Taxis Manresa . Tel: 938 770 877
Youth Hostel del Carme . Pl. Milcentenari, s/n. Tel. 938 750 396. Ignatian pilgrims with the credential have 10% discount
Taxi Marcel . 607 329 946
Our descent from Montserrat to Manresa has been fairly manageable in terms of the distance involved in this “outer journey.” Yet our “inner Ignatian Way” will continue with even deeper energy than we have already experienced. The joy of reaching our external goal now drives us deeper inside to seek the “further and the higher” embedded in this unique pilgrimage of the heart. At Manresa the Jesuits and the lay community who support La Cova will host us in every way they can so that this special pilgrimage remains alive in our hearts.
CASTELLGALI: is a small town of 1,700 citizens, yet it is rich in the pilgrim tradition. Its origins are very old, dating from the times of the Iberians. It has a privileged location on a mountain-side with a broad overview of the Cardoner river valley. The Roman settlers gave the name “Boades” to this settlement. During the Middle Ages, with the influx of pilgrims who traveled the Camino Real along their way to the monastery of Montserrat, Castellgali was known for its hospitality and its blacksmiths. Surely the pilgrim Ignatius of Loyola stopped in Castellgalli several times during his long stay at Manresa, when traveling back and forth to Montserrat. Since it is very close to our final destination, this town offers restaurants, supermarkets, a pharmacy, and a bank.
SANTA CATERINA: watchtower.
MANRESA: This Ignatian city welcomed the first Jesuits in 1602. Since then the city has maintained a constant Ignatian presence, which today receives a boost with the arrival of so many “Ignatian pilgrims.” In order to visit the many Ignatian historic locations in Manresa, it is worth planning a longer visit. (check the tourism website) El Santuario de La Cova de Sant Ignasi is a perfect place to end our pilgrimage. Here we attend to our inner experience and discern the lights and shadows that we will surely have experienced along our Ignatian Way. Let us not be in a hurry to leave this holy place so emblematic of Ignatian spirituality. At La Cova you can get all the information you need to plan your stay (see website). The city of Manresa offers restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, a health center, bike shop, banks and information office (Tel: 93 878 40 90).
Oller del Mas: 500 years of history hosted Íñigo in 1522. The Heretat Oller del Mas today has more than 1,000 years of history, and, therefore, as early as 1522 the family was able to welcome Iñigo in his castle during his time in Manresa. Evidence of the family’s devotion to Saint Ignatius is the 17th century family chapel dedicated to the saint. Generations have followed one another in the castle, but the chapel has remained in the same place. Ignatian pilgrims pass by the castle, which opens its doors to invite them to have a glass of wine, if they have time to enjoy it.
Notes: Great joy stays with us during this final stage of the “outer” journey. The long cherished goal of Manresa is at hand! Remember the “introductory prayer” and the final colloquy both at the end of the prayer and also during the day. May our hearts be filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit, and may the Spirit’s strength go with us on this milestone day in our lives. The Ignatian path for today invites us to continue our inner pilgrimage. Don’t forget to look at our last meditation in Manresa.
Grace: I beg God to give me an intimate knowledge of the many gifts I have received. Filled with gratitude for these many gifts, may I love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflections: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always at work sharing themselves with us. This sharing empowers us to be contemplatives-in-action, finding God in all things. The Jesuits decreed in their 32nd General Congregation that “each member of every Jesuit community must be mindful of what St. Ignatius says about love – that it consists in sharing what one has, who one is, and all those whom one loves. Today will focus our meditation on this experience of love as an exchange of who one is and what one shares with the beloved. In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to understand just how God’s Love is given to us and shared so generously out of God’s great goodness. With this cascade of gifts and graces, we must also respond in a generous and loving way. We will follow the directions of Ignatius to let our hearts expand in the Love of God. The steps of this Ignatian contemplation are as follows:
CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN LOVE.
Two things should be noted: The first is that love is expressed more in actions than in words. The second is that love is a communication between two persons. It is to know, to give, and to communicate from the lover to the one loved, and vice versa, whatever one has or is able to have. So, if one has wisdom, he shares this with the one who has not, or honors and riches from the one who has to the one who does not.
Then I return to the introductory prayer and ask that everything be directed to God’s will. Next I center myself within the prayer. I imagine that I stand before God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit of Love who created me in my humanity. I call to mind today’s conscious desire: I ask the Father to give me an intimate knowledge of the many gifts I have received so that, filled with gratitude for all of them, I may love and serve the Divine Majesty in every way.
And I begin my contemplation. The first point is to call to mind the benefits received from God: the fact of being born and of being saved by Jesus, as well as for all those personal gifts I enjoy. I consider all that God our Lord has done for me and how much of Himself God has shared with me. Aware of this reality, I ponder with much reason and justice what I might offer and return to His Divine Majesty, that is to say all my possessions and all of myself.
Then, as you wish, consider that anyone who desires to be more responsive to God will make the following self-offering: “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my under-standing, and my entire will – all I have and call my own. You have given everything to me. So I return it, to be used according to your will. Give me only your love and grace. These are enough for me.”
Completing the first point, Ignatius proposes a second point: notice how God dwells in all of creation and in all living creatures: giving life to all natural elements, bringing vegetation to the plants, sense to the animals, and understanding to humans. God also gives me life, encouragement, direction, and understanding. God also makes me a holy temple, created in His likeness and Divine image. I then reflect on myself –how I live, what I accomplish, and how I may serve. I end this point by returning to the previous prayer of self-offering: “Take Lord and receive…”
The third point is to consider how God actually works and labors for me in all created things: everything in the heavens and the elements, plants, fruits, animals, etc. God gives and preserves all life, giving awareness, vegetation, etc. Then I think about myself: what can I do to return this love I have received. I finish this point by returning to the previous prayer of self-offering: “Take Lord and receive…”
The fourth: notice how every good gift descends from above, and my own strength comes only from God’s infinite power. Thus justice, goodness, mercy, all other good gifts that I recognize in myself as well as in the world (like the rays from the sun, our water supply, etc.) all come from God. After considering the origins of all that is good, I consider myself and the way I will make a return for all that I have received. I end this reflection by returning to the self-offering prayer above: “Take Lord and receive …” Finish with the usual colloquy and the “Our Father.”
Final colloquy: At this point in our inner pilgrimage, we are accustomed to walk with our friend and Lord Jesus Christ, speaking freely as one friend does with another. Conclude with the “Our Father.”
We are now on the road to Manresa, with a new outfit and a deep inner desire to do everything for the greater glory of God. Yet we also experience quite strongly that good resolves are never easy, even when they are made with best intentions of the heart.
«After receiving the Blessed Sacrament, he left at daybreak. To avoid being recognized he avoided the direct route that leads to Barcelona since he might have met those who knew him and honored him. Instead he took a byway that led him to a town called Manresa. Here he decided to stay a few days in the hospital and to write down some notes in a small book which for his own consolation he very carefully carried with him. About three miles from Montserrat he was overtaken by a man who came after him in great haste. This man asked whether he had given some clothing to a poor man, as the man said he had. Ignatius answered that he had in fact given them to a beggar. When he learned that this man had been ill-treated because he was suspected of stealing the clothes, Ignatius’ eyes filled with tears of compassion for this beggar. And no matter how much he tried to avoid praise and esteem, it did not take long in Manresa before people began telling great things about him because of what happened at Montserrat. His reputation increased day by day. It was not long before people were saying more than was true, declaring that he had given up a large fortune, and similar things that were not factual.
Every day he begged alms at Manresa. He never ate meat nor drank wine, even though both were offered to him. On Sundays he did not fast and drank sparingly if wine was offered to him. Formerly he had been quite careful about his hair and wore it in the fashionable manner adopted by young men of his age. Now he made up his mind to neglect it and let it grow wild, without combing it or cutting it or covering it either day or night. For the same reason, he allowed the nails of his hands and feet to grow since here too his care had been excessive.»
The “some days” that Ignatius first planned to spend in Manresa became more than ten months of personal growth. God was in no hurry with him and, thanks be to God, Ignatius was not overly eager to leave this city that welcomed him with open arms despite his eccentricities. The Ignatian pilgrim may well want to imitate some qualities of this “converted gentleman.” Perhaps it is time to stop at a barber shop to get a good haircut.
“La Cova” (the Cave) of Manresa offers a small booklet so that pilgrims can continue this experience of Manresa in their own personal journey.