The Marian Sanctuaries
Pilgrimage Through the main Marian Sanctuaries
Starts: Lisbon | Ends: Barcelona
Lisbon & St Anthony of Padua, Sister Lucia & Virgin of Fatima, St Teresa of Jesus & Alba de Tormes & Salamanca, Burgos & The Gregorian Chants of the monks in Silos, St Ignatius and Loyola, The Basque Country & San Sebastian, The French Pyrenees, Sanctuary of Lourdes (France), Barcelona & Montserrat.
Other Marian Sanctuaries in Spain of great historical and spiritual importance that go back to the Middle Ages are El Pilar (Saragossa), Covadonga (Asturias) and Guadalupe (Caceres).
Day 1: Lisbon Arrival & Sightseeing - Mass - Santarem & Fatima (D)
Arrive in Lisbon. Upon arrival in Lisbon, meet your European escort outside the customs hall. Board your coach for a panoramic perspective of Lisbon’s scenic streets always with the majestic Tajo River as a backdrop. After your tour, celebrate Mass at St. Anthony of Padua who was born in this capital city. You will enjoy some time for lunch on your own before you will board your coach for Fatima, first stopping in the small city of Santarem where we make a brief stop before continuing to Fatima. In the church of Saint Esteban, known by all as the church of the miracles, is kept the Bleeding Host. More than 800 years have passed since the desecration of the Holy Form, and yet, fresh blood still flows from the side wound. Thousands pilgrimage to this humble church every year. Known as the Holy Miracle of Santarem, this venerated relic of the Bleeding Host has been on display here since 1269. Upon arrival in Fatima, check-in and dinner at the hotel. Overnight stay in Fatima. (D)
Day 2: Fatima Mass - Sightseeing of Sanctuary & Aljustrel (B, D)
After breakfast, you will celebrate mass at the Chapel of Apparitions with other pilgrims. After Mass, you will tour Fatima, where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1917 to three shepherd children (two of these children were Beatified in May 2000). See their houses in the village of Aljustrel, the parochial church of Fatima where they were baptized, and of course, the chapel erected on the site of the Virgin Mary’s appearances, and the basilica. It is not surprising that Fatima is one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage destinations of the world. Dinner at the hotel. Join other pilgrims gathering at the Shrine for a candlelight procession. (B, D)
Day 3: Fatima - Alba de Tormes - Salamanca (B)
After breakfast and optional mass, we will depart through the highway towards the Sierra de la Estrela and the mountain city of Guarda, before heading east to the Spanish borderline and via Ciudad Rodrigo, we will reach Salamanca. Upon arrival, we will detour for a short distance until we reach Alba de Tormes, where Saint Theresa of Jesu died, where we will visit the church and the monastery where she spends her last days.
In the afternoon, enjoy a walking city tour of Salamanca visiting the antique quarters of this marvellous city and the Pontifician University by the Jesuits. Salamanca, today, as eight hundred years ago, is a university town and can presume, along with Bolonia, Paris and Oxford, to be one of the oldest university centers on the European continent. During your Tour, you will be taken to the old University, now designated a Spanish national monument (entrance included), and into the two Cathedrals (entrance included). The newer is of the late Gothic style, while the older, which was the original site of the university, is Romanesque. Once finished your visits, you will wander the active streets around the University and enjoy a refreshment in one of the numerous terrace cafes in the beautiful Plaza Mayor, dated back to the 18th century. Overnight. (B)
Day 4: Salamanca to Burgos – Monastery of Silos & amp. Gregorian Chants (B, D)
Buffet breakfast. You will depart towards the province of Burgos and its capital city, Burgos. Check-in at the hotel and early afternoon enjoy a city tour of Burgos and visit the 13th c. Cathedral, with it’s portal, the "Puerta del Sarmental", considered the best example of the gothic sculpture of its century, as well as the tomb of El Cid. Celebrate Mass, then continue on to the town of Silos, where the Cistercian monastery stands. You will be able to enjoy the traditional Gregorian chants by the monks of the Monastery of Silos before you will return to Burgos. Dinner and overnight stay. (B, D)
Day 5: Burgos to Loyola & amp. Lourdes (B, D)
Buffet breakfast, departure towards the Basque Country and leave behind the Castilian plains and begin entry into the green, mountainous countryside of Northern Spain. Once over the heights of Pancorbo, you will enter the Basque Country. The origins of the Basque culture and language have been much investigated and debated by experts without resolution, but it is certain that the ancestors of the present inhabitants lived there before the arrival of the Romans in the 3rd century AD. You will drive through the province of Viscaya and its capital Bilbao, where the Guggenheim Museum is located. You will continue in direction of Azpeitia and the nearby Sanctuary of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, who was born there. His house is conserved, having been surrounded by a Baroque Sanctuary built around1689 by the Italian Carlo Fontana. Following the Jesuit premise of “to the greater glory of God”, the Sanctuary evokes a grand solemnity and has been said to be like a prayer wrought in stone. After Loyola, you will depart towards the border of France.
After the Spanish border, you will take the AutoRoute towards Toulouse, running parallel to the imposing Pyrenees Mountains. During the first hours of the afternoon, you should be in the city of Lourdes. As opposed to the Fatima Sanctuary that was constructed in a deserted enclave, Lourdes is a city replete with history, to the point that figures as important as Charlemagne are associate with its illustrious past. After you have checked into the hotel selected, we recommend, if such is being celebrated, your taking part in the evening procession of the candles. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6: Lourdes (B, D)
After breakfast, you will have the entire day to explore this pleasant French city, that has so touched the hearts of Christians from around the world. All began on February 11th, 1858, when a young Bernadette Soubirous, who was with friends collecting firewood, was visited by the Virgin Mary. This first apparition was followed by 17 more. On July 4th, 1866, Bernadette left Lourdes for Nevers, to join the convent of San Gildard. She died on April 16th, 1879 and her uncorrupted body has been conserved there ever since. The loveliness of the city, set in the heart of the Pyrenees, and the beauty of its streets and monuments, over which reigns the city castle, lend to Lourdes a special mystical aura that is to be found in few places in the world. There are many sites related to the young Bernadette: the mill, her family home, an abandoned prison where they lived in abject poverty, but above all else is the grotto of the apparitions where one can still feel the emotions of these sacred encounters. Dinner and Overnight stay. (B, D)
Day 7: Lourdes to Montserrat & amp. Barcelona
Enjoy an early breakfast before driving across the Pyrenees back to Spain through one of the most spectacular mountain landscapes. Once in Spain, you will drive towards the valleys and plateaus until you will arrive at the Monastery of Montserrat. home to the dramatically set Benedictine monastery. This Marian shrine has attracted pilgrims for over 700 years, much as it did Ignatius in March of 1522. We pause here to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, before whom Ignatius put his sword and exchanged his fancy clothes for those of a beggar.
After Montserrat, we make our way to the great Catalonian city of Barcelona, once home to the Olympics and now one of Europe’s most attractive and popular cities. We proceed to our hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay in Barcelona. (B)
Day 8: Barcelona
We begin with Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, where Ignatius would often beg for alms. Then we continue by motorcoach to view the major sites of Barcelona including Gaudi’s Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). We will have some time to shop and roam in the lovely gothic quarter of the city. Leisure time and overnight stay. (B)