When the Ignatian Way Pilgrim Office began its journey in 2011, from the first summer we already had pilgrims who helped us to better outline the route and who contributed their knowledge to create a proposal for pilgrimages that would be open to everyone . The first foreigners, such as the Irish Jesuit Terry Howard sj (2011) or the Filipino Fr. Riyo (2012), left a deep mark in places like Navarrete or Cabredo. The Jesuits were followed by lay Ignatians interested in following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius on his pilgrimage to Manresa. Natalie Lacroix (2011) and Caroline Vital (2013) have been accompanying groups of more than 30 francophone pilgrims for years, every summer. Internationalization corresponds to the Ignatian vocation to go out and go beyond local borders.
And from life experiences, the publications follow, of course! In recent times, various testimonies of the Ignatian Way have come to light, or will shortly come. Life experiences that mix with the dust and pebbles of the road. Experiences that must be necessarily personal, but that involve all those people, men and women of the towns and cities of the Ignatian Way. Sympathetic and entertaining stories, which are read very quickly, such as that of Ignacio Villameriel, “Tras la flecha Naranja”, which collects multiple anecdotes, including one of importance: finding his girlfriend! Pilgrimages are already known to unite hearts. Or the story more theologically developed and with very good connections to the Spiritual Exercises, offered by Brendan McManus sj, “Walk through Fire”. In his work, McManus leads us through his experience of the Ignatian Way, an experience of injury and reconciliation, of falling and struggling to regain stability. A story that provides many links with Ignatian spirituality experienced on the Camino and also on his return home. And the story of Philippe Lemonnier, “Iñigo, chemin faisant”, started as an isolated pilgrim and ended as a group pilgrim: two experiences on the same pilgrimage. Lemonnier is a non-believer who approaches the pilgrimage experience, with the opening of the curious investigator, who wishes to discover the interiors of the Ignatian pilgrimage. Author of several books on pilgrims and pilgrimages, it is fortunate that he has noticed the Ignatian. The icing on the cake is offered by an author unknown to us, of Korean origin. His book, published in South Korea, came into our hands. But we don’t know much: he did the Ignatian Way two years ago and offers his experience in a beautiful guide book … of which we only understand photos and maps. When someone publishes in Chinese, an English translation will have to be requested. Buen Camino to everyone!