Sunday, 9 July 2017

Hidden spiritual treasure

Well, the streets were quiet and empty by two in the morning, but I still woke up at the usual time and found it hard to slumber on in the heat. There were thirty of us at St George's for the Eucharist including three small children, and a couple who'd arrived on one of the cruise ships which arrived overnight - two of larger regular craft which take holidaymakers around the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Afterwards we were taken out to lunch in a nearby Italian restaurant called 'Mamma Mia, to which it was possible to walk. There were seven of us. The conversation was interesting and the food was good.

After the obligatory siesta and recovery time, I went with Clare to La Malagueta beach for her daily swim. On the way there she pointed out a gateway into a hillside domain in between two apartment blocks on Paseo Reding, which I'd seen but not previously taken notice of. The marble name plate reads: 'Casa Ejercicios Villa San Pedro'. It's a retreat house for the practice of Ignatian spirituality right in the heart of the city. 

While Clare was swimming I googled the place, and was much surprised by what I discovered. It's one of a pair of places in Andalusia with this mission. The other is in Seville. A Spanish nun, Sister Nazaria Ignacia March y Mesa working in Bolivia founded a community in 1925 called 'The Missionary Crusaders of the church' with the aim of living and propagating Ignation spiritual path. 

In 1943, the Villa San Pedro, a rather grand mansion at the foot of the Gibralfaro, was acquired and became a Casa Espiritualidad. The domain and its gardens are nowadays hemmed in by apartment blocks, but at least this means it's shielded from traffic noise and so able to offer a tranquil space for individuals and groups of retreatants. Some time soon, I think I'll go and visit the place and find out more. In Britain, Ignation spirituality continues to grow n appeal, to non-Catholics as much as to Catholics, thanks to a new generation of translators and interpreters of the tradition for our time. I wonder if this is equally true, here in the land which brought St Ignatius to birth? 


  1. What a shame that I never knew of this place during my time living just along the coast, especially as I feel so drawn to Ignation spirituality.

    1. Does this mean you and Mary have now returned to UK as intended? This place is very much a hidden treasure Ian. Unknown to St George's members, the place is tucked away into the Gibralfaro mountain base, behind a street lined with apartment blocks. Spirituality on a 'need to know basis?' There must be a network which links this place to others in the Archdiocese.
      Looking forward to finding out more!