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Following in the Footsteps of St. Ignatius

Twenty-five SLU-Madrid students embarked on a pilgrimage to Spain's picturesque Basque Country for the Loyola Retreat. Surrounded by trees that seem to stretch for miles, mountains that reach for the sky and breathtaking views, the retreat gave students a view of Spain and Jesuit history, far from the commotion of Madrid. 


The Loyola Pilgrimage Retreat  includes a visit to the Basilica of Loyola, the stunning complex built around the home where St. Ignatius was born in 1491.

A SLU-Madrid tradition, the Loyola Pilgrimage Retreat traces the life of St. Ignatius, visiting his birthplace, family home, the hospital where he worked and—perhaps most notably—the spot where he converted to Catholicism and gave his life to God.

During the three-day retreat, both visiting and permanent students of different faiths shared their thoughts and made new friends, all while learning about the rich history of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. With a healthy balance between spirituality and reflection, the retreat allowed for those who were Catholic and not Catholic alike to join an inviting community, and to escape and think. 

Laura Moyneur, a senior from Minnesota who attended the retreat, reflected:

The Loyola retreat is more than just a trip to see the Basque Country. It is a time to reflect on one’s life, to grow spiritually, as well as to rest and recharge the body, mind, and soul. Through this gathering, lifelong friendships are made and one’s faith has the opportunity to grow through discussions and mental exercises. My own ideas were challenged, and as a result, I learned to look at my faith and the world in a new light. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn more about St. Ignatius and where he started his spiritual journey, and to have shared it with the other kind, curious students on the retreat. It was a wonderful experience that left a positive, powerful impression on everyone who participated.


SLU-Madrid's Campus Ministry and the Office of Student Life organize visits to Loyola every semester. SLU-Madrid sponsors half of the trip in an effort to promote SLU's Jesuit mission across the entire University.