El Camino


  • Engage students in spiritual reflection and formation and prayer
  • Expose students to significant tradition and history in the Church and form them with the actions of pilgrimage and Spanish culture
  • Provide students a physically and spiritually engaging and challenging experience


BLOG  **Please note this group will not have consistent access to the internet due to the pilgrimage they will be embarking on. This blog will be updated upon the group's return to Chicago.

Students will travel to Spain, where they will hike about 100km of the historical pilgrimage, El Camino de Santiago. “El camino” means “the way,” and this pilgrimage route stretches from the French border in the Pyrenees all the way through northern Spain to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela. There, a great cathedral was built on the tomb of St. James - or Santiago - on the place where legend says his remains were rediscovered by a shepherd who saw a star shining on a field - a campus stella, or compostela, which means field of the star. Pilgrims have walked this path to Santiago for 1,000 years, motivated by combinations of repentance, spirituality, historical interest, and a desire to be out among God’s Creation. Pilgrims who walk over 100 km can receive a compostela, the official pilgrim certificate given to those who track their progress on official credenciales, or passports. Our students will be pilgrims, hiking from Sarria to Santiago across five days, following nothing but El Camino’s yellow arrows and signposts. We will learn the history and spiritual potential of pilgrimage in our seminars and live it out during our journey. Our walk will culminate at La Catedral de Santiago, where students will receive a compostela, attend pilgrims’ Mass at the cathedral, and hug the statue of St. James and pray at his tomb. Our journey will be physically and spiritually challenging and physically and spiritually rewarding!


  • Trip materials: Hiking backpack with rain baggy, quality shoes/boots, rain jacket, bed sack, active passport (must be valid through end of 2017).
  • Sufficient physical health and wellness to be able to walk 20-35 km per day and embrace simple living conditions for meals and lodging:
  • Students must pack their travel luggage entirely into one hiking backpack and carry it for the full length of the pilgrimage. We will not check bags or use suitcases.
  • This will include some preparatory walks as a group.
  • Practicing and continuing to learn conversational Spanish.
  • Interest in engaging with pilgrimage spiritually, through personal journaling, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, and prayer
  • This is open to non-Catholics and non-Christians, but active spiritual engagement is expected of all participating students, regardless of faith tradition.

Mr. Dan Masterton is entering his second year as the Campus Minister at St. Benedict. Mr. Masterton graduated from the University of Notre Dame cum laude with a BA in Honors Theology in 2011 and from Catholic Theological Union with an MA in Theology-Biblical Ministry in 2016. He has also worked as a volunteer lay minister in Ireland and for three years as a Campus Minister, theology teacher, and coach at other Catholic high schools. He is married to his wife, Katherine, and also enjoys writing, running, and cheering on Chicago sports.

Ms. Isabel Gonzalez is entering her second year as the Director of Admissions for the Secondary School at St. Benedict. Ms. Gonzalez graduated from Marquette University with a BA in Corporate Communication and Spanish. She has been in education post her undergrad. She enjoys reading, drawing, and exploring new places. Ms. Gonzalez looks forward to helping the students practice their Spanish throughout their trip.