Brendan McManus’ experience of the Ignatian Camino, is a delightful read in which he draws on his own experience of the Ignatian journey, introduces other characters he meets along the way and holds everything together with a wealth of Ignatian wisdom. Setting out with memories of the joy of his Santiago de Compostela Camino experience, Brendan is not long into the Ignatian Camino when he experiences a painful fall which shapes the rest of the journey and his life beyond the walk.
His Camino becomes an experience of trust in darkness and letting go of fixed plans and expectations, of broken dreams and painfilled moments where the words of Jesus “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” echo in his own heart. It is through these many painful experiences on the Camino and a six month long recovery from the injury he sustained, that he could reflect back and write that a pilgrimage is about coming to terms with life’s unexpected events. It is about holding on, leaning on the wisdom of the Ignatian way, learning from the past and trusting that God is working within every situation along the way.
The seemingly ill-fated walk revealed to Brendan, the pilgrim, that life is not about the fulfilment of expectations and well laid plans but by taking the “humbler path of having courage to make changes, realistically accepting limits, and maintaining faith in the providence that God has a larger plan.” The experience of his Ignatian Camino brings Brendan to the realization that above all else, life is about “letting go of control and trusting in the slow unfolding of meaning.”
Published by Loyola Press, The Way to Manresa – Discoveries alone the Ignatian Camino, has many insights for would be pilgrims and all who are drawn to the Ignatian way of life.
Mary Robson, Director of JISA Faber, Brisbane