“My pilgrimage was a journey of the heart” exclaims Helen Lucas, a member of JISA’s Being with God in Nature ministry, as she recounts her experiences of walking the Ignatian Camino.
The Ignatian Camino is a 700km route that Ignatius travelled in 1522 from his home in Loyola, Guipúzcoa, Spain to Manresa, with the goal of reaching the Holy Land. Before Ignatius embarked for the Holy Land, he stayed some months in Barcelona.
And it is in Barcelona where Helen remembers one of her most impactful moments. “The group I was with was on a walking tour of Barcelona at the end of our pilgrimage. Our guide took us to the church where Ignatius sat on a step and begged.” It was at the Santa Maria del Mar, a beautiful gothic church in Barcelona, where Ignatius begged for alms in 1524-25.
“I sat on that very same step that Ignatius sat.” remembers Helen. “As I sat there, I thought about all the people that have passed this way and have sat on this step over the centuries.”
“I remember this was the time when my pilgrimage experience went from my head to my heart” says Helen.
“…putting myself in this place of vulnerability
…and most importantly responding to what was being asked of me.”
“This was not just a person I’d read about and seen where he was over the course of the Camino; where he was baptised, where he convalesced, and where he walked. This was about putting myself into this place, on this step, about being a beggar and putting myself out there, putting myself in this place of vulnerability, hoping to be noticed and hoping for the generosity of others; and most importantly responding to what was being asked of me.”
Helen remembers writing this poem…
What have I seen and where have I walked?
I have seen places I have only dreamed about.
I have seen places I have only read about.
I have seen places I have only heard about.
I have seen places I have only prayed about.
Now I have walked into places where footsteps
of God are deep and yet new to you and me
May I walk the pilgrim’s way again.