Sometimes the planning for a Camino takes years. Sometimes the calling to walk is so faint that you take years to reply. And then sometimes you just get slapped with a suggestion of a walk and you are making plane reservations the next day.
Last Monday (2 March), I was looking in the Camino Forum, to see if I could help answer questions for new pilgrims who want to walk a Camino to Santiago de Compostela. After I gave some information about English language masses in the cathedral in Santiago, I noticed the signature of another pilgrim, Johnnie Walker, contained a link to a Camino Ignaciano. I had never heard of that walk so I checked it out.
It turns out that this walk follows the trail that St. Ignatius Loyola took from Loyola in the Basque mountains in northern Spain 650km south and east to Manresa near Barcelona and the Mediterranean coast. In 1522, Ignatius had recovered from the wounds he received in a battle in Pamplona and he had already decided to devote his life to Christ. He was on his way to Jerusalem at the time.
With eight years of education in Loyola Blakefield and Loyola College in Baltimore, I was already hooked. St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus (and patron saint of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, my hometown) called me and I immediately answered. Melanie and I chatted over the next few days and decided to walk the route despite the fact the only real time we could do it this year was starting in mid-April – less than six weeks away. Between now and then, we are working three weeks on a boat and we will only get back to Singapore to train for a few days before setting off for Spain. Throwing caution to the wind, we made our commitment to go.