The Camino is a pilgrimage route that traverses northern Spain, finding its ultimate end at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Tradition holds that the Apostle James traveled to Spain to share the Gospel and is buried at the cathedral site. For hundreds of years, people from all walks of life have been making their journey along El Camino (“The Way”) to pray, reflect, and renew a commitment to journeying daily with Christ.
Walk the Camino: Where is the Lord Leading You?
Father Shawn Matthew Anderson, O.S.B.
Join Saint Vincent Retreat Program Director Father Shawn Matthew Anderson, O.S.B., on the Camino of Saint James to reflect on walking along the path that leads to life, as Saint Benedict exhorts in his Rule for monks.
Father Shawn Matthew Anderson, O.S.B., has been a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey for more than 20 years. Holding a doctor of pharmacology degree, he is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College, a priest for more than 15 years, and also serves as director of the Retreat Program.
The Camino to Santiago de Compostela trip will be led by Retreat Program Director Father Shawn Anderson, O.S.B., May 15-26. The pilgrimage route traverses northern Spain, finding its ultimate end at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Tradition holds that the apostle James traveled to Spain to share the Gospel and is buried at the cathedral site. For hundreds of years, people from all walks of life have been making their journey along El Camino (“The Way”) to pray, reflect, and renew a commitment to journeying daily with Christ.
Day 1 | May 15 | Depart U.S.A.
Pilgrims will depart on their overnight flights to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Inbound flights should arrive in Santiago by noon on May 16.
Day 2 | May 16 | Arrive
Santiago / O Cebreiro
After arriving in Santiago, pilgrims will be transported by bus to O Cebreiro. O Cebreiro is known for its traditional Galician buildings. The group will celebrate Mass in Santa Maria A Real, which was originally a Benedictine Church that was built in 836. It houses a chalice associated with a Eucharistic miracle dating back to 1300. Following Mass, pilgrims will have a meal in O Cebreiro before being transported to the hotel for a well-earned night’s rest.
Day 3 | May 17 | O Cebreiro / Triacastela (13 mi)
Group members will walk the ‘Serra de Ranadoiro’ (Ranadoiro Mountains) and reach Alto do Poio where they will encounter the pilgrim statue and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. From the Alto the descent into the village of Triacastela will begin.
Day 4 | May 18 | Triacastela / Sarria (11 mi)
After a night in Triacastela, pilgrims will walk along the ‘San Xil’ Camino, which offers spirit-lifting scenery. It has many ‘corredoiras’ (narrow forest tracks) with paved pathways through native Galician oak woods. The group will continue west to Sarria, which is another popular starting point for the Camino de Santiago. The gruop will stay overnight in Sarria.
Day 5 | May 19 | Sarria /
Portomarin (14 mi)
After a night in Sarria, the group can expect a calm walk through pretty villages and peaceful hamlets under the shade of oak trees and along quiet country roads. Along the way, there will be many Galician traditional ‘hórreos’ (granaries). There will be a stop at the beautiful Romanesque church in the village of Barbadelo. The destination for the night is the town of Portomarin.
Day 6 | May 20 | Portomarin / Palas de Rei (14 mi)
After a night in Portomarin, the trekkers will cross the river Miño (Galicia’s longest river) and rise uphill steadily towards the Serra de Ligonde. They will pass hamlets such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón and stop to visit the Romanesque Church of Santa María in Castromaior and the Romanesque church in Eirexe, with its portal featuring a sculpture of Daniel with animals, as well as Pilgrim Santiago.
Day 7 | May 21 | Palas de Rei / Melide (9 mi)
Pilgrims 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. Walkers can visit the town’s medieval center and churches and try Melide’s local delicacy: Pulpo (Octopus). They will stay overnight in Melide.
Day 8 | May 22 | Melide /
Arzua (9 mi)
The day’s walk takes the group through meadows, oak and eucalyptus woodlands and 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.
Day 9 | May 23 | Arzua / Arca
(O Pedrouzo) (12 mi)
The day’s walk features natural pathways with good shade trees. The Camino now becomes busier with pilgrims as the group gets closer to the fabled city of Santiago.
Day 10 | May 24 | Arca /
Santiago de Compostela (12 mi)
The first part of the final stage into Santiago is through dense woodland. As the city approaches, asphalt roads take over. After leaving the town of Lavacolla in the outskirts of Santiago, where pilgrims used to wash themselves in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago de Compostela. 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.
Day 11 | May 25 | Additional day in Santiago
Group members will have an entire day to enjoy the city of Santiago de Compostela. They can visit the impressive Cathedral, which is considered to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pilgrims may opt to descend the stairs to visit the crypt and pray in the presence of the relics of Saint James, tour the Portico de la Gloria (Gateway to Heaven), an unparalleled masterpiece, or walk to the top of the Cathedral for a panoramic view of the glorious city. Trekkers will gather one final time at a communal meal to reflect on the pilgrimage.
Day 12 | May 26 | Return
Make way back to airport in Santiago for return flight back to U.S.A.
Check-In: Contact the retreat office.