Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - September 18, 2023
Along with Avila and Fatima
Your autumn pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal begins with the life of St. Teresa of Avila, the great mystic, and Doctor of the Church, who reformed the Carmelite order, before beginning one of the most spiritual walks in all of Christendom: El Camino or The Way of St. James. We behold the breath-taking Cathedral of St. James at the end of our walk before journeying to Fatima, one of the most famous apparition sites in the world, where Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children.
Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage Itinerary
Today you will depart on your overnight flight to Madrid, Spain.
After our morning arrival in Madrid we will be met by our tour manager who will be with us on our entire pilgrimage. Start our journey to Avila. Here St. Teresa of Jesus began the great reform of the Carmelite Order in 1561. We will see many religious buildings connected with Ávila’s revered heroine. She was born here in 1515 and is considered one of the Catholic Church’s greatest mystics. We will visit the saint’s relics in the Convent of St. Teresa built on the site of her birthplace. The afternoon will be free and then we will check in to our hotel. Overnight in Avila.
This morning, we will visit the Monastery of the Incarnation where Teresa became a Carmelite nun and where her cell can be seen. In a small house nearby lived St. John of the Cross who was the confessor to the nuns. In the Monastery is his famous three-inch drawing of Christ Crucified. We will visit the Monastery of St. Joseph, the first of seventeen monasteries which she founded for the new Discalced Carmelites. Continue west to Sarria, which is a popular pilgrims’ starting point for the Camino de Santiago. Stay overnight in Sarria.
Today we will begin our walk along the Camino de Santiago. Today’s walk is spread equally between quiet country roads and natural pathways, passing through many small hamlets that seem to blend seamlessly one into the next. Overnight in Portomarin.
A day of varied terrain as you start skirting Belesar reservoir and climbing up through woodland before a further gentle climb to Alto do Rosario (Rosary Heights). A short descent takes you to your accommodation in Palas de Rei.
Today you will cross four river valleys mostly on pathways through woodland. In Melide, a medieval township with close links with the Jacobean pilgrimage, the French Way temporarily becomes an urban route. Visit the town’s medieval center and churches and try Melide’s local delicacy: Pulpo (Octopus). Overnight in Melide.
Today’s walk takes you through meadows, oak and eucalyptus woodland through countless small hamlets, some of which bear names that echo their historical connections with the Pilgrim’s way. This is the county of Arzua, a land with a strong dairy production and known for its delicious cheeses.
Walk on natural pathways with good shade offered by trees. The Camino now becomes busier with pilgrims as we near the fabled city of Santiago.
The first part of your final stage into Santiago is through dense woodland. Enjoy the shade and peace – as you approach the city, asphalt roads take over. After leaving the town of Lavacolla, the Way approaches the Monte do Gozo (The Mount of Joy), a small hillock from which the pilgrim was able to see, for the first time, in the distance, the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago, hence the name of this spot.
This morning we will enjoy a complete tour of Santiago de Compostela. Visit the impressive Cathedral which is considered to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in Europe. After Mass, climb up the stairs behind the altar to visit the crypt, where a silver urn contains the relics of St. James. See the Portico de la Gloria (Gateway to Heaven), an unparalleled masterpiece. Walk to the top of the Cathedral for a panoramic view of this glorious city. We will also visit the museum in the cloister adjoining the Cathedral. In the afternoon we will depart Santiago de Compostela and drive south to Fatima, where the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, in 1917.
Today we will celebrate Mass on the spot where Our Lady appeared at the Chapel of Apparitions. Visit the Basilica to see the site of Francisco and Jacinta’s graves and then on to the hamlet of Aljustrel where the three children lived during the Apparitions. Continue to Valinhos, the site where Our Lady appeared following the children’s release from prison. This evening participate in the Stations of the Cross along the Via Sacre, site of the first Apparition.
Transfer to the airport in Lisbon to catch our return flight home.
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy airfare from Chicago O’Hare on Lufthansa
- 10 nights’ accommodations, including taxes and service charges
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Knowledgeable, friendly, Catholic/Christian guides; whisper headsets; deluxe motor coach transportation to holy sites; all entrance fees listed on itinerary
- Breakfast and dinner daily (excluding drinks)