"Inazio gure patroi handia
fundatu eta dezu armatu
I woke up with this melody inside my head. Don´t ask me why, you know, mysteries of our minds. However, it is said that our heads have most of the control in our bodies, so considering that I have off-days, I went to Loyola to know more about that song and its characters.
The huge basilica impressed me to be honest. It seems like you are in the Vatican. Honestly, it seems that it was made to impress people, and considering how Basque people are, I bet this building could not bigger than St.Pedro´s basilica- I guess it was forbidden. In fact, it is the only Romanesque design basilica located in the Basque Country.
The reason behind it is that the architect was Italian, and not because Asterix and Obelix were around here. It could be possible that Obelix was walking in these lands, or a couple of Iñaki Perurenas, because the building is made of rocks from the mountain Izarraitz (and, you know, just to transport these giant rocks…) The basilica is extraordinary, and what about the gardens in front of it? They´re ever better, paradise must be something similar.
As I was really amazed, I had my accommodation in Arrupe Hotel. I didn´t know why, but I had the feeling that the day would be exhausting. In order to start the day, I had a potato-omelette pintxo and café au lait (coffee with milk) at Uranga´s bar. Once I had breakfast, I started with the real objective of my journey: to know more about the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. I thought the best option was to start by going to his house.
Oihana and Maixa were the ones behind the information tourism desk; and they told me where to go. As I had approached the Holy House, they were already a couple of Koreans with their cameras and some Chilean people. Ainhoa recommended me to do the visit with a guide, and it was amazing. As you were crossing the first door, they were already explaining the life of Saint Ignatius. Out of a sudden, you feel you are back in time- 600 years ago more or less.
The first thing that caught my attention was the structure of the house. To tell the truth, I didn´t know if I were in Andalusia or in Euskadi, because in a tower built for war, there was a last floor with a Mudejar architecture, filled with bricks and huge windows. It seems it was built by some slaves that the grandfather of Ignacio de Loyola had.
Due to the fact that Saint Ignatius is not only the most international Basque also was a member of an influential family in our country. He was raised in an austere family that was prepared to war, and he had been a soldier until a bullet hurt him in his youth.
The was cured within these four walls with two meters wide, but in that process so important was essential the meals made in the kitchen on the first floor, as the books about the life of Christ and the saints that his sister left him. Like the chapel of the Holy House where Ignacio made an introspective trip until having a vision of the Virgin.
When he went from being a soldier to giving his life for and to God, founding the Company of Jesus.
In the library, we could see and touch the words that show how the trip to the interior of Saint Ignatius was. All of them are written in his book "Spiritual Exercises" and have copies of 4 and 5 centuries ago!!!!
But one of Loyola's biggest secrets is his park and back gardens. In its day were more than 300 Jesuits and students who walked there and worked their gardens in search of spirituality. But in 1982, with the visit of Pope John Paul II were transformed into beautiful gardens.
Who knows, perhaps Pope Francis also knows these places, because he is the first Jesuit Pope. Or perhaps we will soon see him wander through these lands seeking to help others, as Saint Ignatius did in his day.
For some people, writing would not be the way to help your fellowmen. I don´t think I´m going to reach Saint Ignatius of Loyola, as he did many things in his time. However, the journey made today has been touching. It was as a journey inside me. I´m really exhausted, so I´m going to sleep to Hotel Arrupe.
Thank Oihana and Maixa, from Urola's Tourist Information Office, for the attention they gave me, as well as informing me of everything I could see and do in the area.
And to Ainhoa from the Information Office of the Sanctuary of Loyola who offered me all the resources available to get all the information I needed for this experience. And special thanks to Olatz, who spent a good time with me teaching the treasures of the Library and the Sanctuary.