34 boys from Pamplona crossing the Pyrenees

Our great adventure in Pallerols began on July 1 and ended on the 15th of this month. We were a group of 34 people, belonging to the Lantegi and Noray clubs in Pamplona. Most were boys between the ages of 11 and 13, although some university students also came. We stayed in the houses of Ca l’Ampurdanés and a few slept in the rectory of Pallerols.

It was an excellent conviviality!

In the mornings we had different workshops: maintenance of the paths of the Pyrenees pass – traveled by Saint Josemaría in the fall of 1937-, orientation in the mountains, cooking, crafts, biology, among others. In the afternoons: sports, swimming pool, excursions and mass.

One afternoon of the first days Ramon visited us to tell us about Saint Josemaría’s stay in those lands. His story -in great detail- caught the attention of all the boys, allowing each scene in the story to be imagined. Ramón also told us about the history of the invocation of the Virgin of Pallerols, “the Virgin of the personal path” as Bishop Javier Echevarría called her, who helps to discover and follow the will of God, as she helped Saint Josemaría on that distant November 22, 1937.

On the excursion days, we were able to do some of the stages of the Pass of the Pyrenees that Saint Josemaría did because of religious persecution during the Spanish civil war. I think the excursion we liked the most was the last stretch to Sant Julià de Lòria, in Andorra. We also visited the parish of Andorra la Vella, one of the churches where Saint Josemaría celebrated one of the 9 days that he stayed in Andorra while waiting to be able to pass the port of Envalira, which had been closed due to the heavy snowfall on December 3.

We had other moments to get to know more parts of the road: for example, the night of our arrival we walked to the San Rafael’s Cabin. In all these moments we realized the great difficulty that Saint Josemaría and those who accompanied him went through, taking into account the bad conditions they had (cold, little food and water, fear, fatigue, inappropriate clothing and footwear, etc). On the other hand, we were able to enjoy some incredible landscapes.

It was really very exciting for everyone to have been able to be in that wonderful place these summer days. Having mass every day in the church of San Esteban de Pallerols, where Saint Josemaría found the Rialb rose and visiting all the surroundings where he was, has been a real luck.

We would like to take the opportunity to give a special thanks to those who take care of this beautiful place and allow so many people to visit and, in some way, “relive” that part of the life of Saint Josemaría, so transcendental for the history of Opus Dei.