From Montserrat to Manresa
Behind us: the Monastery of Montserrat and all the experience of the magic mountain. Ahead: twenty-odd kilometres full of historical and natural surprises, most of which date from the medieval period. The final stage of the Ignatian Way is the last step to overcome before arriving at Manresa, the city where Ignatius de Loyola spent ten intense months performing his spiritual exercises five hundred years ago.
More than five hundred years ago...
The route begins by walking along the Camí dels Degotalls, but downhill now, as far as the Chapel of Santa Cecilia, where we continue along the path towards the church of Saint Christopher, a tiny Romanesque church on the banks of the Marganell stream, in the municipal area of Castellbell i el Vilar. It stands in an idyllic spot at the foot of the north face of the mountain of Montserrat.
The route continues from here to the village of Castellgalí, following an ancient medieval road dating from the 10th century that coincides with the Path of Saint James at several points on its way. It snakes along, at times taking advantage of stretches of the old Roman road that Ignatius must have walked on his pilgrimage to Manresa, taking us to Castillo d’Oller del Mas and then to Torre de Santa Caterina, from where we can start to see the outlines of the city of Manresa , where the Site and House of Spiritual Exercises of the Cave of Saint Ignatius await us as the most outstanding features.
After passing the Church of the Virgin of La Guia, we come at last to the old bridge, the Pont Vell. Crossing this bridge is one of the most emotional moments for most of the pilgrims on this route, as it was for Ignatius de Loyola himself in 1522, over five hundred years ago. A fascinating city awaits us on the other bank of the river Cardener, filled with countless points of interest: the Jesuit College – where walkers can get their credentials stamped –, the Basilica of Santa Maria de Manresa – one of the most impressive Gothic temples in Catalonia –, the Carrer del Balç – an interpretation centre in a 14th century street – or the building at the Cave of Saint Ignatius, the end of the path, the most essentially Ignatian place of all and one of the universal reference points for Jesuits around the world.
Don't miss it ...
The Espai Manresa 1522 interpretation centre, the city of Ignatius, invites you to step back into the Middle Ages, to discover the history of the medieval origins of Manresa and to enjoy the models, audio-visual projections and a brilliant museum presentation of how the city lived when Saint Ignatius of Loyola came there in 1522.