- Explore Castles, monasteries, and ancient ruins
- Pray before Saints of the Church
- Walk in the footsteps of Saint Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross
- Experience the culture and rich heritage of Spain
- See magnificent gothic cathedrals
- Share this experience with friends
Round-trip airfare from your city to Spain, Transportation within Spain, two meals per day, hostel or convent lodging, entrance fees, JMJ Youth Pilgrimage Guide from arrival to departure.
St. Isidro Church was built in the mid 17th century in honor of the patron Saint of Madrid, Isidore the Laborer. Isidore was born a very poor, but devout, farmer. Every morning he would attend mass and often times his fellow laborers complained to their master. When the master investigated, he found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the plowing for him. Another time, the master saw an angel on either side of Isidore helping him plow doing the work equivalent to three of his fellow laborers. Many other miracles happened during and after his life. He was canonized a Saint in 1622, along with other well known Saints, such as Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. In 1769, the remains of St. Isidro were transferred here. This church served as the cathedral of Madrid until the Cathedral of Almudena was complete in 1993.
The Royal Palace of Madrid was originally a fortress that was built in the 9th century. It was used against the Moors, but only rarely did the Kings of Castile use it. Philip II moved his royal court to Madrid in 1561, at which time the “old castle” was built on the location of the fortress. It burned down in the early 18th century and King Philip V ordered a new palace to be built on the same site. Alfonso XIII, who died in 1931, was the last monarch to reside in the palace. The palace is the largest in Europe with a floor space of 1.45 million square feet and 3418 rooms.
Monasterio de Santo Tomas was constructed in 1482 and funded by the Catholic Royals, Ferdinand and Isabel. They buried their only son, Don Juan, here who died at the age of 19. The Royals’ confessor and advisor, Friar Tomas Torquemada, is also buried here.
Segovia Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built between 1525-1577. The original cathedral stood adjacent to the Alcazar, castle. The cloister and door that leads to it from the southern transept are older than the church, being moved from the original site near the alcazar. It is considered the last gothic cathedral of Spain and Europe’s last great gothic cathedral.
9 Day Itinerary
Day 1 Depart your city for Madrid
Day 2 Arrive in Madrid, check into accommodations, visit the Almudena Cathedral, Basilicas of St. Francisco el Grande and San Isidro, Plaza Major and the Royal Palace of Madrid
Day 3 Day trip to Avila. Be awed by the Convento la Encarnacion, fortress-Cathedral and Monasterio de Santo Tomas, pray before the relics of St. Teresa
Day 4 Day trip to Segovia. Celebrate Mass at the Carmelite Convent, visit the Cathedral, pray in front of the tomb of St. John of the Cross
Day 5 Day trip to Toledo, the ancient capital of Spain. Relax in the Plaza de Zocodover, explore the Iglesia de Santo Tome, the Catedral and Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca
Day 6 Travel to Barcelona, marvel at the Cathedral de la Santa Creu, Chapel of Santa Agatha, Santa Maria del Pi, and experience the color of the city on Las Ramblas
Day 7 Enjoy the Gothic Quarters, Holy Famly Church, Santa Maria del Mar, afternoon free
Day 8 Day trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat, evening free to explore
Day 9 Depart Barcelona for home
Mass will be celebrated daily within the itinerary.
Specific locations and events within the daily itinerary are subject to change depending on actual dates of travel.
The Almudena Cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena and consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993, when it was finally completed. Although discussions and plans started in the 16th century, construction did not begin until 1879. The cathedral was built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1083 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.
The Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande was built in the 18th century. The basilica was built next to the Franciscan convent founded in the 13th century on the site of an old chapel. The shape of the dome is very similar to the Pantheon’s dome in Italy. It’s 33 meters in diameter and 58 meters in height.
La Plaza Mayor is in the center of Madrid’s bustling city. It was originally called Plaza del Arrabal, but was remodeled a few times between 1560 and 1790. The plaza is rectangular in shape and is surrounded by stores and apartments. It has been used for markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, etc… There is a statue of King Philip III who was the first King to order the remodeling of the plaza.
Convento de la Encarnacion, also known as the Convent of the Incarnation, was founded in 1515 by the Carmelite nuns. St. Teresa of Jesus (aka St. Teresa of Avila) entered the order and spent 29 years of her life here. A chapel was built over St. Teresa’s cell in 1630. Relics of St. John of the Cross are also housed here.
The Carmelite Convent (aka Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites) was built in the 13th century. St. John of the Cross is buried here in a chapel on the Gospel side. St. John entered the Carmelite Order in 1563 and ordained a priest in 1567. Shortly after he met a charismatic Carmelite nun named Teresa of Jesus. She talked to him about her ideas for reforming the Carmelite Order back to its “Primitive Rule” of 1209. He helped her begin the reform and weather the ups and downs through the process. Because of his work for the reform and his theological writings he became one of the 35 Doctors of the Church.