Since 2003, the College of the Holy Cross has organized an annual summertime pilgrimage for its faculty to visit important sites in the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. The pilgrimage is an opportunity for religiously diverse faculty to share a lived experience of early Jesuit history and Ignatian thought, which enriches their understanding and teaching of the College's Jesuit mission.
Through Northern Spain, the pilgrims trace Ignatius' footsteps, from Loyola Castle, the site of his birth and conversion, to the cave at Manresa where he dwelled for nearly a year, praying and practicing what would become his Spiritual Exercises. They visit the monastery at Montserrat, the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier and the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Then, they fly to Rome and visit the apartments of St. Ignatius, the Gesù church and the church of St. Ignatius, and the sites of other early Jesuit ministries.
Holy Cross invites other Jesuit colleges and universities to join us on pilgrimage. More than 100 faculty and key administrators have done so already, with the largest number coming from from Xavier University, Loyola University Maryland, Marquette University and Saint Joseph University. Arrangements for other institutions' participation are normally finalized by December of the year before the trip.
"A remarkable number of pilgrims have described the experience as transformative," said Thomas M. Landy, director of the Michael C. McFarland, S.J., Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at Holy Cross and organizer of the annual pilgrimage. "No matter their religious affiliation or scholarly background, the faculty and staff who have made the pilgrimage feel a deepened connection to Jesuit mission that influences their work at Holy Cross or at their home institution."