Cueva de San Ignacio

Cova de Sant Ignasi - Manresa Cave


Useful Information

Location: Camí de la Cova 17, 08241 Manresa.
(41.7215, 1.8312)
Open: OCT to FEB Tue-Sat 10-13, 15-18, Sun, Hol 10-12, 12 celebration of the Eucharist.
MAR to SEP Tue-Sat 10-13, 16-19, Sun, Hol 10-12, 12 celebration of the Eucharist.
All year Sat 11 free guided tour, no reservation required.
All year daily.
[2021]
Fee: free, donations welcome.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Cueva de San Ignacio, 17 Camí de la Cova, Manresa, 08241, Tel: +34-93-872-04-22, Fax: +34-93-872-91-16. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

MAR-1522 to FEB-1523 Saint Ignatius of Loyola shut himself in a cave to pray and do penance.
1603 chapel dedicated to Saint Ignatius built next to the cave.
17th cty church built as a lobby of the cave.
1759 church modernized in baroque style.
1844 Benediction of the church.
1894-96 convent and the house of spirituality built.
1915-18 aisle between the church and the cave artistically decorated.

Description

The Cueva de San Ignacio (Cave of Saint Ignatius) was named after Iñigo Lopez de Recalde also known as Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He was wounded in the defense of Pamplona against French troops, renounced his military career, and began a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. According to legend he was wearing only a sack robe on his way and when he reached Manresa in 1522 he found a cave where stayed for some time. He had visions and transfigurations, which he recorded in a manuscript on the meaning of life and divine love, which became known under the title Spiritual Exercises. He lived in the cave for 11 months and when the book was completed continued his journey to Jerusalem. He then returned to Rome where he founded the Society of Jesus or the Order of the Jesuits in 1534 based on the revelations he had in this cave. As a result the cave is today the main center of the Jesuits.

The cave was originally a cavity over the river Cardener, created by fluvial erosion during the Tertiary. It was more or less just an overhanging cliff or shelter. Ignatius of Loyola used it for prayer, some say he lived in the cave. The first change at the cave was a chapel dedicated to Saint Ignatius built next to the cave in 1603. Later in the century a church was built in front of the cave, which was benedicted in 1844. Today there is huge ensemble consisting of the extended baroque church, the Jesuit Residence, and the Centre of Spirituality.

To enter the cave you have to enter the church through the main portal at the southeastern side. On the far end of the church the vestibule or Ante-Cave begins, a spacious aisle designed by Martí Coronas, a Jesuit Brother, at the beginning of the 20th century. It has four stained-glass windows onthe left side in a Venetian mosaic style, bronze relief works, and the wall of the cliff on the right side. Two bronze angels, created by artist Llimona, which symbolize Saint Ignatius’ prayer and penance, are placed above the door of the cave. Then the cave follows, which is a little - well - sobering. It is quite narrow, actually just a ledge on the cliff face which was closed towards the river by a wall with small windows. The cave is part of the church, which is open daily for visitors, and as customary for churches it is free, while a donation is gracefully accepted. The problem is, if you visit during mass you cannot enter, and if you enter on a weekend, especially during summer it might be crowded. The question is: how many tourists fit into a cave which is big enough for one Saint?