Pilgrimage to France, Spain and Portugal May, 2107

Im blessed and honoured to be hosting this Marion Pilgrimage

May 30 – June 10, 2017

and invite you to join me and others on this Pilgrimage of Faith

Contact me at 778-414-2260 or quesnelescapes@gmail.com for details


Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of this amazing Pilgrimage.  Our tour begins with our included return flights from Vancouver.   I’m also able to customize the flights to have them leave from other major airports across Canada.



Barcelona was founded by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, and later structured by the arrival of the Romans in the 1st Century. The original name of the city was Barcino, probably named after the Carthaginian ruler Hamilcar Barca. 

After our morning arrival into Barcelona, we’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, have time for lunch, transfer to our hotel for some rest and then gather again for dinner.  The following day, we’ll take a side tour to the enchanting Benedictine Monastery in Montserrat and visit the beautiful Black Madonna of Montserrat.


Montserrat, whose name means “serrated mountain” is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat.  The Escolania, Montserrat’s Boys’ Choir, is one of the oldest in Europe, and performs during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in  the Basilica.  This beautiful Basilica  houses a museum with works of art by many prominent painters and sculptors and a publishing house, one of the oldest presses in the world still running with its first book published in 1499.

Many of its treasures were lost in fires in the early 1800s and in 1835, the abbey was closed until restoration was completed in 1844.  On September 11, 1881, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed the Virgin of Montserrat the patron saint of Catalonia.  Thousands pilgrimage here and many miracles are attributed to Mary.

In 890, shepherd boys were surprised by lights and the sound of singing coming from the mountain.  They reported it to their priest who also heard the singing and saw the lights.  After the Bishop also witnessed the same occurrences, the statue of Our Lady was discovered in a cave and brought out and placed in a small church which has now developed into the present church that was completed in 1952.

Introducing the enchanting Benedictine monastery…our first stop after our arrival into Barcelona.











The chapel of Montserret


A look inside

Here She is… The Black Madonna of Montserrat


The statue sits behind a sheet of glass, however the sphere she is holding is not behind the glass and tradition is for you to kiss or touch the Virgin’s hand whilst opening out your other hand to Jesus.  Believed to have been carved in Jerusalem it is a wooden sculpture.  It’s colour comes from the passage of time:  the wood is darkening.  Visiting the Black Madonna of Montserrat is a religious journey, one that ultimately leads us to a closer relationship with Jesus, Mary’s Son.

Amazing views of the Catalonia countryside









After lunch our tour brings us back to Barcelona for a second guided tour.

Looking down at La Sagrada Familia



This church has an unusual feature compared to other churches in Spain.  Instead of being surrounded by numerous chapels and ecclesiastical buildings, it has a covered passage or cloister which forms a rectangle enclosing the church and passing through the narthex or  lobby of each its three portals.   

Gaudi’s original design called for 18 spires, representing the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and Jesus Christ.  Eight are complete, corresponding to four apostles at the Nativity facade and four apostles at the Passion facade.

The traditional symbols of the four Evangelists will be surmounted by sculptures of their traditional symbols:  Saint Luke – a winged bull; Saint Matthew – a winged man; Saint John – an eagle; Saint Mark – a winged lion.  The central spire of Jesus Christ is to be surmounted by a giant cross, the lower spires surmounted by communion hosts with sheaves of wheat and chalices with bunches of grapes, representing the Eucharist.

The Basilica is a symbolic expression in carved into the stone facades and a testament of our Living Faith.  We will be able to access the Nave, Crypt,  Passion Tower, Nativity Tower, Museum and shop.  The third Tower, the Glory Tower is still to be completed.   Construction began in 1882 and it is hoped that construction will be complete by 2030.

At the top of Mount Tibidabo and reached via the Tibidabu Funicular is the Sagrat Cor Church and The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue.


This impressive Cathedral can be seen from all over the city.  Construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1961.  There are two levels to this beautiful Cathedral.  You can climbing the stairs to the top of Tibidabo cathedral at 548 meters above sea for an unforgettable view of Barcelona and beyond.




Our Pilgrimage is being guided by the Saints.  We’ll be visiting several churches dedicated to them.  Let’s take a look at their lives.

St. Eulalia


Co-patron saint of Barcelona who suffered martyrdom during the persecution.  She was subjected to thirteen tortures including putting her into a barrel with knives and rolling it down a street, cutting off her breasts, crucifixion on an X-shaped cross and decapitation.  Her body is now in an alabaster sarcophagus in the crypt of the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.




After our stay in Barcelona, we’ll travel Lourdes, France.  Upon arrival, we’ll celebrate Mass, have some free time


Located in the Pyrenees Mountain region of France, Lourdes is the home of one of the most important Marion shrines in the Catholic Faith:  the Grotto of Massabielle.  Approximately five million pilgrims come to Lourdes each year.  It’s history begins with its strategic importance during medieval times.  Its medieval castle was used as a military prison, but in 1858 Lourdes’ importance as a military and state stronghold ended and its spiritual importance began.

St. Bernadette

St Bernadette was visited by Our Lady of Lourdes between February 11 – July 16, 1958 eighteen times.  At age 14, she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved, except a wild rose in a natural niche in a grotto.  Then she saw a dazzling light and a white figure she called a small young lady.  Throughout the apparitions, she remained in a trance.  On February 25th, she explained that the vision had told her “to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and eat the herb that grew there,” as an act of penance.  To everyone’s surprise the next day the grotto was no longer muddy, but clear water flowed.  On March 2, the lady asked that a chapel should be built and a procession formed.    On March 25, the lady named herself saying “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  St. Bernadette suffered greatly during her life and died April 16, 1879 and was canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

We will visit the Grotto and Basilicas dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.  Our Lady instructed pilgrims to “drink at the Spring and wash in it.”  We will have that opportunity!  The original Spring is protected, but it can be seen in the Grotto where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette.

The Site of the Apparitions






The Grotto

The Basilica

The Miraculous Water

The Candle Light Procession



The Baths



Originally called Mayrit, Madrid was founded by the emir Muhammad at the end of the IX century.  It passed from Muslim to Christian hands several times during the Reconquest of Spain, and this mixture of cultures characterizes the city to this day.  The 19th century was a difficult period for Madrid with bloody history events taking place.  In the 20th century, Madrid was confirmed as the capital city of Spain.    Today it is a large metropolis with beautiful, historic influences.

Our morning sightseeing tour of Madrid takes us to Puertoa del Sol, Plaza Espana with Cervantes monument, Celebes fourntain, elegant Calla Alcala and Paseo Castellana.

Royal Palace with Celebes Fountain


Madrid Cathedral During the Day











Madrid Cathedral At Night



In the afternoon, we’ll leave Madrid and travel to Toledo.  Situated on a granite hill surrounded on three sides by the Tagus river, the ancient capital of Castille will be a highlight.  Toledo is known as the city of the three cultures, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together here for centuries behind its walls.    The great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter a real open-air museum, which has led to it being declared a World Heritage Site.


We will celebrate Mass at the beautiful 13th century Cathedral.

The Moorish Bridge at Toledo


En route to Salamanca,  we’ll stop in Avila, the city of St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross where we will again celebrate Mass.









St. Theresa of Avila

Born on March 28, 1515, she died October 4, 1582.  She was a mystic, Carmelite nun and theologian.  She was fascinated by accounts of the lives of the saints.  Her mother died when she was 14 which prompted her to embrace a deeper devotion to the Virgin Mary as her spiritual mother.  She too suffered greatly during her life.  She reported visions of Jesus and Mary and was a strong believer in the power of holy water.  She was canonized in 1622.

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 and died in 1591.   His father died when he was just 2 years old.  He was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Carmelite friar and a priest.  With St. Teresa of Avila founded the Carmelite Order.  Also known for his writings for growth of the soul, he was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.  He is one of the 36 Doctors of the Church.  He suffered imprisonment and torture.


An ancient university town,  it was first conquered by the Carthaginians in the 3rd century BC.  It then became a Roman settlement then ruled by the Moors until the 11th century.  The university is one of the oldest in Europe.

Numerous structures still testify to Salamanca’s 2000 year-old history.  The remarkable Old Cathedral and San Marcos, the Salina, the Monterrey Palaces and the Plaza Mayor all testify to its historical nature.  It is the University that stands alone here.    Most historic buildings are located in the Old Quarter of the city, and the  churches are a highlight here.  It was registered as an “Historic Site” in 1951 and an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.  

Ornate, beautiful churches will highlight our visit here and we will have free time to explore.

The University









The countryside


Santiago de Compostela

The burial place of St. James and a major pilgrimage destination since the Middle Ages will be our next stop.  We will visit the Cathedral dedicated to St. James and the Old City.

The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great.  That shrine is now the city’s cathedral and destination of the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago), a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century.  The City’s Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.


St. James, the Apostle

One of the 12 apostles of Jesus, St James the Apostle is the patron saint of Spain.  It is here that we will visit the church were his remains are held.    The feast day of St. James is celebrated on July 25th.

The Cathedral dedicated to St. James

Welcome to Santiago de Compostella












After our stay in Santiago de Compostella, we cross the border into Portugal

Our first stop – The Church of the Most Holy Miracle

Early in the 13th century a woman with an unfaithful husband consulted a sorceress so as to regain his faithfulness and save her marriage.  The sorceress said she would cure the husband for the price of a consecrated host. After some time, the woman decided to remove the host from the church.  

She had only taken a few steps and the host began to bleed.  It bled so much that it was believed she had cut her hand.  When parishioners tried to help her, she rain out of the church.  When she arrived home, she threw the bloody host in a trunk in her bedroom, and later that night both her and her husband were awoken by a mysterious light coming from the trunk.  The women confessed to her husband and they both knelt in repentance before the miracle.  The next morning, they told the priest what had had and her placed the host in a wax container and returned it to the church.  When the priest opened the tabernacle again, he found the wax container was broken into pieces and the host was enclosed in a crystal pyx.  Now placed in a silver monstrance, it is viewed by many faithful Catholics.  The church once called the Church of St. Stephen was renamed to the Church of the Holy Miracle.


We will have the opportunity to visit the Shrine of the Most Holy Miracle, where a consecrated host was taken from the church and then began to bleed.  When it was returned to the church and placed in the Tabernacle yet another miracle took place and today that very consecrated host is encased in a crystal pyx where it can now be viewed – by you and me!

The Tabernacle of the Church of the Holy Miracle



Welcome to Santarem

After a short stop in Santarem, we’ll continue to Fatima











On the 13th day of each month from May to October,  1917, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima appeared six times to three young children;  Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.  The children later shared that her coming had been preceded by an “angel of peace” who appeared in 1916.  

Lucia’s account of May 13th, 2017 described a woman brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.    The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand.  She asked them to do penance and devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to pray the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.

During the second apparition on June 13, the Virgin Mary predicted the deaths of two of the children, Jacinta and Francisco.   When Lucia asked the Virgin to take them to heaven soon, Mary replied, “Yes, I shall take Jacinta and Francisco soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.”

On July 13, the Virgin revealed Three Secrets of Fatima to the children.  The secrets were not written down until 1941 when the process for canonization for Jacinta and Francisco began.

The first secret described a horrific vision of Hell.  The second foretold the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II and called for the “Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.  The third secret was kept under Easter of 2000.  It spoke of a the killing of a pope along with many other bishops and priests.  The Church’s interpretation is that this predicted the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt of Saint John Paul II.  John Paul himself credited Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life.  The bullet used is now kept in the crown of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.

On her last visit on October 13, a crowd of 70,000 people gather in a torrential rainstorm to witnessed a promised miracle and the scheduled arrival of the Virgin Mary.  Around noon,many observers witness the clouds parting and the sky opening up. 

Witnesses spoke of the sun appearing to change colours and rotate like a wheel.  Others, of the sun dancing and falling to the earth.



The House of the Children












The Children

The Crown

Francisco and Jacinta died in the flu pandemic of 1919.  Francisco was 10 and Jacinta was 9.  They are buried at the Sanctuary of Fatima.  They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000.  Lucia became a Carmelite nun and died on February 13, 2005 at age 97.   She is also buried in Fatima.



These pictures cannot truly convey the experience of this Pilgrimage of Faith.  

You are invited to join us and deepen your personal relationship with Our Mother Mary !

Contact me today as space is limited