O Lady of the Way, guide our steps along the often steep and rocky path of life!
Ignatius had a deep love for Mary and as we travel on our Erromeria Pilgrimage with Ignatius, we shall discover the many varied and beautiful devotions to Our Lady that he must have encountered on his travels. It is fitting therefore to have Mary accompany us, as she would have accompanied Ignatius, as guide and companion on the journey.
As our overarching image of Mary for our journey, we turn to Our Lady of the Way, (Madonna della Strada) the patroness of the Jesuits.
The above image is in the Church of the Gesu in Rome, mother church of the Society of Jesus. It was originally a 13th-14th Century fresco on the exterior wall of a small chapel of the Church of Saint Mary of the Way. When Ignatius and his companions arrived in Rome they felt a special devotion to this image of Mary. This chapel was given to St. Ignatius by Pope Paul III in 1540. In 1568, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese erected the Gesu Church of Rome in place of the former church. The fresco was moved there in 1575.
For our Erromeria Pilgrimage to celebrate 500 years since St. Ignatius’ conversion it is fitting to have Mary as our guide and companion for the journey. She meant so much to him.