Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 300 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Graduates of programs in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction should develop knowledge and skills in this discipline and be able to reflect critically on the ways in which their personal development impacts upon their professional roles. Pilgrimage has a long and venerable history within Church tradition. In this unit, students will walk the 640 km pilgrim route taken by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in 1522 from his home in Spain’s Basque country to Montserrat and Manresa. As a pilgrim, the student will be on a 28-day outer journey and an inner journey of personal renewal. Students will walk virtually the same route that Ignatius did, pass through many of the same towns, pray in the same churches, and marvel at the same natural wonders. The aim of this unit is for students to spend a sustained period of time in critical reflection on the Ignatian tradition and experience the transformative power of pilgrimage. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe significant persons, places and issues in Roman Catholicism at the time that Ignatius made his pilgrimage (GA4; GA8);

LO2 - Evaluate the role and impact of pilgrimage on Ignatius’ self-understanding (GA4; GA8);

LO3 - Analyse the Autobiography of Ignatius in the light of their own journey (GA4; GA8);

LO4 - Analyse the impact of their own pilgrimage experience (GA2; GA4).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Prior to the pilgrimage there will be two preparatory meetings at which significant texts and background information will be introduced, including Jose Lluis Iriberri and Chris Lowney’s Guide to the Ignatian Camino. On the walk there will “points” for contemplation given each morning by the guide, followed by two hours of walking in silence at the start of the day, and spiritual conversation during the day. Each evening there will be Eucharist and time for the Examen of Consciousness and faith-sharing. Following the pilgrimage there will be a one-day workshop reflecting on the pilgrimage.

Topics will include:

·      Significant persons, places and issues in Ignatius’ life at the time of pilgrimage;

·      What is a pilgrimage? – Not a vacation, or tourism, or a disengagement from the challenges of life, but rather a journey toward the transformative possibility that the journey itself contains;

·      Pilgrimage as journey to a sacred destination;

·      Pilgrimage as archetypal and universal experience;

·      The psychological, spiritual and social effects of pilgrimage. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 300 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a University qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

THSP604 will be delivered in multi-mode, that is, in various combinations of face-to-face and mediated learning environments, utilising strategies which may include:

·       Self-directed activities (specifically, reading the texts on pilgrimage and working out your purpose for making the pilgrimage) which enable each student to build a detailed understanding of a topic;

·       Small-group tasks and activities (specifically, entering into spiritual conversation during the hours of walking each day, and contributing to faith-sharing in the evenings) which enable students to test, critique, expand and evaluate their understandings;

·       Plenary seminars and webinars which enable students to link their understandings with larger frameworks of knowledge and alternative interpretations of ideas;

·       Practical or fieldwork activities which enable students to rehearse skills necessary to the discipline and to be mentored in that practice;

·       Critically reflective activities (specifically, keeping a personal journal and doing the Examen during the 28 days of pilgrimage) which assist students to learn reflexively, that is, to identify their affective responses to the learning and to integrate their learning with action.

The unit is delivered with the expectation that participants are adult learners, intrinsically motivated and prepared to reflect critically on issues as well as on their own learning and perspectives.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all assessment tasks and achieve an overall minimum grade of pass. All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spiritual practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Critical reflection based on a daily journal kept during the pilgrimage (6000-words). This task is designed to enable students to integrate candid descriptions of their pilgrimage experience with a subsequent analysis of themes and insights.



GA2, GA4

2. Essay on the historical contexts of Ignatius’ pilgrimage (3000-words). This task is designed to focus students’ experience of place during the pilgrimage and their understanding of Ignatius’ context.


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA8

3. Analysis of the Ignatian Autobiography (3000-words). This task is designed to heighten students’ awareness of their own journey by close study of and critical reflection on that of Ignatius.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA8

Representative texts and references

Bartholomew, Craig, and Fred Hughes. Explorations in a Christian Theology of Pilgrimage. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publications Ltd, 2004.

Coleman, Gerald. Walking with Inigo: A Commentary on the Autobiography of St, Ignatius. Gujarat: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2001.

George, Christian, and Calvin Miller. Sacred Travels: Recovering the Ancient Practice of Pilgrimage. Chicago, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2006.

The Ignatian Way

Iriberri José, and Chris Lowney. Guide to the Ignatian Camino. New York: Cluny Media, 2018.

Iriberri José. On the Ignatian Way: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2018

Smith, Michael. Walking with Inigo – The Ignatian Camino: Following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Schmidt, William. Walking with Stones: A Spiritual Odyssey on the Pilgrimage to Santiago. Bloomington, IN: Trafford Publishing, 2012.

Tylenda, Joseph. A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Loyola. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2001.

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