Pallerols, Corb, Ribalera, Cabra Morta and Argolell

On Monday, 298th of June, we left for a trip from Olalde club (Bilbao). A few days before we had celebrated the feastday of Saint Josemaría with a solemn Holy Mass in one of the churches of the city.

A group of 7 persons, 5 boys, a club leader and a priest, were about to engage in the adventure to relive the way of Saint Josemaría through the Pyrenees in 1937. The members of the group were: Juan Ignacio, Ciro, Xabi, Guillermo, another Guillermo, Tirso and Father José María. Since some time before we had prepared the crossing with Jordi, who helped us in everything and who also explained to us all the facts which happened in that winter of 1937. It all started with quite a hot one day excursion when we arrived to Pallerols around 7 pm. There we could realize all that happened on the 22th of November 1937: the doubts of Saint Josemaría, and how a caress of the Mother of God encouraged him to continue his way in order to expand the Work in the other side of the front.

That same day we approached the famous hut of Saint Raphael where Saint Josemaría and those who accompanied him spent five days while waiting for the guides from Peramola who would guide them to the Barranc de la Ribalera. What surprised us was the order with which they lived their spiritual and formation plan in so difficult circumstances.

On Tuesday, 29th, we went to Corb and Ribalera. After three long but enjoyable hours of walking we arrived to Barranc de la Ribalera.

The truth was that the tiredness suffocated us but to think that Saint Josemaría made this walk with the distress of the militiamen, the winter cold and the accumulated exhaustion of long walking hours through stony mountain paths, made us look at it with different eyes.

After resting for a while and reading some historical texts of the year 1937, Fr. José María began the celebration of the Holy Mass remembering how Saint Josemaría said the Holy Mass. The truth was that it was an intense time with a landscape of spectacular beauty as background which made us aware that it had been worthwhile the experience. After finishing Holy Mass we talked for a while joking and enjoying where we were and what it meant. We began our return journey going down to the gully along another way in the direction of Juncàs’ house, where we had left the minibus. The memory of that Holy Mass and that place will be remembered by us with joy.

On the 30th we got up at 8 am and started the trip towards our last stage, before crossing the frontier with Andorra. We had to get through the gully of Cabra Morta from where the border could be seen. It was a climb relatively short yet it was not less hard for that reason. It was hot, but in spite of this, it was easy to imagine these places in a cold winter. We were lucky to wear good footwear, since the stones we stepped on came easily off.

Once up there we had a brief rest before starting the last stretch of the expedition. The descent was intense. We could discern those houses from which the militiamen patroled with intensity the area in 1937. The barking of dogs made us revive with more intensity those moments.

Before arriving to the village of Argollel, we attended Holy Mass celebrated by Father José María in a romanesque chapel of Santa María de Feners, which is demolished at present. In order to dignify the altar and the walls remains of the chapel, we had to pull up the weed which abounded, and put some flowers in the altar. It was a moving Mass. After the Mass we embarked on our way to Barcelona where could rest of the whole trip. They were a few days but lived intensely. All in all it was a great way of combining the knowledge of some important thing as the crossing of the Pyrenees by Saint Josemaría, and to make a long walk but full of good moments.

The experience has helped us to know more of Saint Josemaria’s life and to be a bit more aware of the many gifts he received from God and from his mother Holy Mary along his life. We hope we can repeat the trip next year.