Step 27. Montserrat – Manresa (24,6 km)

Nothing is hard to a man whose will is set on it, especially if it be a thing to be done out of love

Cyclists’ medium difficulty. In order to go down from Santa Cecilia it is best not to take the narrow path posted for pilgrims on foot but continue straight on the dirt road, pass a house that stays on the left and, once crossed the dry river, find the point where the pilgrims path join the dirt road leading to Sant Cristófol. And again, on the descent from Castellgalí cyclists have to bring the bike to their side and walk carefully along the C-55 just 400 m.

Montserrat: Km 0. Ermita de Santa Cecilia: Km 3.5. Sant CristĂłfol: Km 7.9. Church CastellgalĂ­: Km 14.3. Riera de El XUP: Km 21. Torre de Santa Caterina: Km 23,5. La Cova de Manresa: Km 24,6.

We say goodbye to the Mare de DĂ©u de Montserrat and take the same path (dels Degotalls) which took us up to Montserrat on the previous day. As we return on this same road, we now stay to the left as we head back towards the hermitage of St. Cecilia. As we walk along this path parallel to the road, and after passing the tunnel on the right side, we can see the shrine up at the top, next to the road.

At the St. Cecilia shrine, we take a paved road down to our right. A sign indicates “GR-4” Cristofol and we follow its direction. We leave the shrine to the left and go down the paved road. The road we want to take runs parallel to the main road, but below it. We pass the ravines which descend from the mountain.

For pilgrims on bicycle, it is best to follow the dirt road that continues to descend. It turns as we pass some farms which we will notice on our left. In each new trail we always continue down to our right. At the bottom we reach the dry stream and cross to the other side. We then climb the dirt road and eventually come to the end of this road (an iron cross indicates the point) where we meet the pilgrims on foot who have descended down the mountain.

The pilgrims on foot will follow the directions along the GR-4 road which lead to Sant Cristofol. You will notice a sign which indicates a bend in the road. We take the mountain trail which descends steeply. We then follow the red and white GR-4 trails. We reach a wide dirt footpath which we take to the right. Cycling pilgrims join us. We can see yellow arrows going “against the right direction”.

We enter the neighborhood of Can Prat, along the street “Carrer de les Agulles.” We follow the red and white signs along this same street. (Note that at times the signs on the light poles may be covered with pink paint.) Eventually we come to a hairpin turn on our right. Look for the sign which indicates the road to Manresa, to our left. Pay attention because there are two possible routes: the correct road is the one along the red and white GR-4 trail which you will see at the right side of the road. It is the trail perpendicular to the road you just left.

At the next fork: take a right towards the Chapel of St. Jaume de Castellbell. Follow the red and white trails. We find a vertical sign pointing towards Sant Cristòfol de Castellbell. At this point we can divert 2 km to the right, following the signs, to visit the village and the Pozo del Milagro de San Ignacio (the well/spring of St. Ignatius’s miracle). We can also go straight, following the direction towards Sant Jaume de Castellbell. Following to Sant Jaume, we come to a crossroads and turn to the left, leaving Sant Cristòfol behind us. Descend to a stream, following the GR-4 trails. We cross the stream and pass a house on the left. At the next fork we turn right, following the red and white trails. We reach the asphalt road and go left down to the bridge. Here we take the road towards Castellbell and Vilar. Just past the bridge and next to the restaurant there is a path to our left which leads us up higher. A sign indicates the direction to Manresa.

The dirt road joins another that comes from our right. Continue straight ahead and you will see a large pig farm on the left. Just past the farm houses, we come to a fork. Take the road to the left, as the sign indicates. We now leave the red and white trails, and begin to follow the blue and white markings. Take a right at the next fork. This road leads us across a stream and immediately past another path which crosses ours to the right. A sign on the right indicates the direction of CastellgalĂ­ and Manresa, and so we take it to the right.

Our route crosses another one, and we take a right. Soon a new road branches off to the left, but we continue straight ahead. We reach the first houses of Castellgalí: an old Excursionista Union sign tells us that we still have 2 hours to Manresa. We take the first street on our left, following the white and blue trail markers. We are now on the street called “Cami de Montserrat” and we continue straight ahead.

We now approach the heart of Castellgalí; we can see the church in front of us, up higher. We approach the church on the street called Sant Antoni. Here we say goodbye to the blue and white signs of the Camino de Santiago Catalan. Our Ignatian Way will continue ahead, past the church façade. Continue straight ahead; at the end of the village houses, look for a dirt road next to a utility pole. A sign indicates that we are now entering the old pilgrim road from Manresa to Montserrat. This tenth century path takes a steep descent down towards highway C-55. We go down to reach the road and then take it to our left. We follow along the highway about 500m and go past the bridge over a stream. After passing the golf course on the left, we take the middle asphalt road which begins at our left.

We now border the golf course and follow the Can Cornet riverbed to our left. A historical marker commemorates the 1936 martyrdom of two religious sisters in this place. At the fork we go to the right to avoid crossing the stream. After 600 m we pass very close to La Masia (Can Cornet) private house. We take the path that continues on our right; eventually this takes us up to an old stone quarry.

Our road has risen steadily in the form of a “Z”. Large stones in the road help us imagine the presence of the old quarry which we don’t currently see since the road continues to climb. Near the top, next to some fields, our road turns left. About 200m farther, this road meets another which we take to our left. Just a few meters farther, we can see the city of Manresa.

We walk straight ahead, without taking any of the paths that emerge to the right and left. Soon we come to the castle of Mas Oller. After about 1.5km, another road meets us from the left. We arrive at 100m from the castle gates. We turn right and we pass a column that indicates that we are on the old Roman road that surely took to Ignatius to approach Manresa. We leave a path down to our right and continue towards some houses, that we pass along to our left. After a short descent, we arrive at the entrance to another house and at that point we take left a dirt road down to the creek. We descend and cross a small bridge.

We pass the creek and we turn to our right about 50m.  We climb a path that we will follow along with a stone wall. Once up we take left and we head towards some houses that we pass and continue straight until a new crossing, with a very visible power poles. At the junction we take on our right, going away from the neighborhood of El Xup in front of us.

Keep walking straight ahead. After a while our road takes a sharp turn right to enter a farm but we continue straight, by an old lane, not very well marked passing between fields. About 200 meters it forks. We take the narrow path to go straight to our right.

Soon this path crosses a paved road. We continue straight ahead towards the Tower of Santa Caterina, a former lookout tower. We head directly to this tower.

 As we reach the Tower, we see the city of Manresa in front of us. From this vantage point we can see the Basilica of La Seu and the retreat house building which houses La Cova de Sant Ignasi. Down by the Cardoner River, we can see the Old Bridge. We will have to cross it, just as Ignatius of Loyola did over 500 years ago.

We leave the Tower on a path that runs to the right before heading to La Cova. A steep descent takes us almost to the foot of the shrine of Our Lady of the Guide, which we can see to our right. According to tradition, when Ignatius reached this point, the people were celebrating a pilgrimage to the Virgin. We can imagine that Ignacio thought he should ask the Virgin of the Guide to help him discover his own spiritual path. We take the road to our left and cross the bridge over the railroad tracks. We continue down to the River Cardoner road, and turn right as we head to the Old Bridge.

We cross it with the emotion of those who realize that they are coming to a symbolic location. Ahead of us is the building of La Cova de San Ignacio. At the foot of the bridge, slightly to the left, take the road up to La Cova.

Pilgrims should firstly go to the old Jesuit college in Manresa, 36 Carrer (street) de Sant Ignasi, to seal their credentials and obtain their final certificate in the Pilgrim Reception Office. To get there, once past the old bridge, we ascend beside the hermitage of Saint Marc, up Via (lane) Sant Ignasi, with the Basilica of La Seu above us to our left. After 400m we reach the Plaça (square) de Sant Ignasi and the hermitage del Rapte. The Pilgrim Office of the of the Ajuntament (City Council) of Manresa is just a few metres away.

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Lodging

Castellbell i el Vilar

AsociaciĂłn Taxistas del Valle . 938 28 24 75
Taxi José María Claret . 938 28 22 30

Manresa

Apartaments Grup Urbi . C/ Codinella, 9. Entresol 2ÂŞ. Tel: 93 876 82 41 - 606 99 35 37
Apartaments la Farola . C/ Canyelles, 5 Tel: 938 73 13 00
Apartaments Manresa . Tel: 660 551 333
Apartaments TurĂ­stics . www.manresaapartments.com / rentals@manresaapartments.com / Tel: 660551333
Flat . http://www.somiarte.com/#!bb/ctac / somiartetaller@gmail.com / Tel: 630 538 838
Hostal TurĂł de la Torre . C/. Sallent, s/n PolĂ­gon Els Dolors Tel. 93 873 32 86
Hotel 1948 . Carretera de Santpedor 54 – 58, Tel. 938 748 216.
Hotel Els Noguers** . Avinguda PaĂŻsos Catalans, 167, Tel. 938 743 258.
Pensión La Masia . Plaça Sant Ignasi, 21, Tel. 938 724 237
PensiĂłn Roser Manila Sant Andreu . Carrer Sant Andreu, 9, Tel. 938 725 908.
Radio Taxi Manresa . Tel: 938 744 000
Retreat House and Pilgrim's Hostel La Cova de Sant Ignasi . Casa d’Exercicis, La Cova de Sant Ignasi.Passatge de la Cova, s/n Tel: 938 720 422. It is essential to call ahead to reserve a room and to indicate the number of days you intend to stay at your lodging. In 2009 alone 32,000 people passed through La Cova and 5,000 participated in its activities. Hopefully, but perhaps not easily, you will find a room!
Taxi Manuel Artero . 630 91 89 00
Taxis Manresa . Tel: 938 770 877
Youth Hostel del Carme . Pl. Milcentenari, s/n. Tel. 938 750 396. Ignatian pilgrims with the credential have 10% discount

Montserrat

Taxi Marcel . 607 329 946

Comments

The 28th day is a day for praying in the Cova, joining the 7.30 a.m. mass in the Cova in Catalan. Fr. Magriñas introdoced me to the small group, who were at the mass. I went to the St. Lucia's Hospital then down to the river Cardoner. In general I received a special grace: the health and the happiness. During the whole pilgrimage there was not any problem with my health. Even tiredness in legs were not so serious. In my understanding there are two big currents during the pilgrimage. The one is from God's love, coming down, inviting me to come. Then the second current is an answer from my part, to make myself ready to do any mission for spreading His love. I started the Camino, then experienced the difficulties on the way, and yet there were many helps. By the time, the joy and the high spirit surpassed all challenges and difficulties. There was a source of energy from within, which supported both my tiny legs. In fact I was bringing more than what it should be. I am only 64 kg, when I started. Now I think I loss about 4 kg. According to the rules, the weight of the carrier is about 10% of the body weight. However I was carrying about 20%. The pain on the shoulders was changing from right to left, from left to right. But I could bear it to the end. I think I am ready now to do any mission, to walk to any palce, where God wants me.This spiritual freedom makes my inner feeling so light. Now, it finished. Thank you for the support. I am very sorry that I couldn't meet Josep personally. I learned from Vera in Verdú, that Josep will guide a group, starting from Friday in Verdú. It means will finish in Manresa by Monday. I will not see Josep in Barcelona on Sunday. Hopefully Next time! I have a confidence that Camino Ignaciano will be soon known to many, and become the source of inspiration for anyone who want to search for meaning of life. I wish you a lot of spiritual fruit for guarding and improving the Camino Ignaciano.

Today is the 28th day. I arrived in Manresa yesterday, walking down from Montserrat. On the Spirituality Center Maria Theresa has been waiting, giving the key of the room in the Jesuit Community. Fr. Sugrañes was about to leave to the parish, where he usually serves. I met in the lobby. Fr. Magriñas welcomed me, and showed the rooms in the community. It was a beautiful ending, the hospitality of the house of Manresa. From the whole Camino Ignaciano I got a lot of consolation. During the walks I have got good surprises. People helped me in many ways. I think they are the real hands of God, handing over the helps for me. The owner of the Hostal San Miguel speaks English very well, since he has been in the USA, working there. He said "Camino Santiago is now a tourism. But Camino Ignaciano is a pilgrimage".

Me gustaría agradecer la hospitalidad recibida en el camino y dar las gracias a un grupo de peregrinos del Camino Ignaciano que nos hizo compartir momentos privilegiados a su lado en la ciudad de Manresa. Ha sido la primera vez que hago un camino y sé lo que significa la hospitalidad. En este camino Ignaciano tan desconocido para muchos ha resultado ser el camino más especial y sentido que he hecho.

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