November 3 - 13, 2019

Cost per person: $3,355.00 plus $605 airport taxes and fuel surcharge departing from Toronto. Click here for terms and conditions.

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Space is limited to 25. 




  • Leave Toronto on Air Canada for overnight flight to Madrid.


  • Arrive at Madrid International Airport and board deluxe coach for 90-minute trip to medieval town of Avila. Check in to Hotel Parador of Avila, a classical medieval palace that has been converted and is now part of the Paradores four-star hotel chain. Paradores are state-run hotels that have been constructed out of historic buildings such as castles and palaces and are typically found in smaller towns of historic significance. This will be our home base for 5 nights.
  • Afternoon is free to rest and recover from the trip. Dinner in the hotel.


  • Start the day with a full Spanish breakfast before setting out on a guided walking tour of this historic town. Avila is the birthplace of St. Teresa 500 years ago and it is where she began her reform of the Carmelite order. Our tour will include the Cathedral of Avila. Built as a cathedral-fortress, complete with battlements and connecting to the famous medieval walls of Avila, construction on the cathedral began in 1055. Most of what we’ll see was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. A local English-speaking guide will lead the group as we explore this fascinating town, with other stops to include the House of St. Teresa, a museum dedicated to the saint and the church at which she was baptized.
  • Return to the hotel for dinner.



  • Continuing on the trail of St. Teresa by coach and on foot with an English guide, we will visit the Monastery of La Encarnación, where St. Teresa lived for most of her adult life and where her mysticism was founded. We’ll also visit the Monastery of San Jose, the first monastery founded by St. Teresa, and the Royal Monastery of St. Thomas to see the confessional once used by the saint.
  • Return to the hotel by foot walking along the medieval walls, constructed between the 11th and 14th centuries, that average 12 metres in height and boast 88 towers.


  • We take a one-hour bus ride to the enchanting city of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage historic site. A city that St. Teresa was known to love, Salamanca is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. We will visit the 500-year old, Gothic cathedral, the monastery of St. Stephen, where according to tradition Christopher Columbus once stayed and where St. Teresa liked to pray. 
  • We will walk to the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, a major achievement in Baroque art built in 1710 and still considered the heart of the city, and from there to the house where St. Teresa lived for four years and where she received the inspiration to begin her most famous writings.
  • We will leave Salamanca and visit the village of Alba de Tormes, where St. Teresa died in 1582 and is buried. We will visit the Convent of La Anunciación, founded by St. Teresa, and see her tomb and view relics of the saint.
  • Return to the hotel for dinner.



  • We will take a full-day excursion to another UNESCO World Heritage site, visiting the historic town of Segovia. Noted for its rich architectural beauty, Gothic cathedral and medieval walls, Segovia is home to an iconic Roman aqueduct that runs through the heart of the town with 160 arches. Disney fans may also recognize Segovia’s famous castle, which was the inspiration for the castle in Cinderella.


  • We will depart after breakfast by bus for a 1 hour, 45 minute ride to the UNESCO heritage city of Toledo, where we will stay in the beautiful Parador of Toledo four-star hotel for three nights. Situated at the top of Emperor’s Hill it offers magnificent panoramic views of the historic city. The afternoon is free to enjoy the many amenities at the hotel or wander the narrow side streets, squares and gardens of the old city, or visit the cathedral which boasts paintings by Rubens, Bellini and El Greco.



  • We’ll spend this day getting to know Toledo, starting with Mass in the cathedral, followed by a walking tour of the old city. We’ll visit historic sites, including the place where St. Teresa lived and, during long winter nights, wrote many of her famous letters and reflections by candle light. Toledo is unique because its history was fashioned by an interweaving of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures. It was the major city of Imperial Spain during the country’s Golden Age period.


  • Morning departure by coach for Madrid and accommodation in a downtown four-star hotel. As our pilgrimage winds down, Madrid offers an opportunity for relaxation and sight-seeing. The afternoon is free to get to know Spain’s fascinating capital city. 
  • Dinner at the hotel



  • After breakfast, a free day to unwind, shop, visit tourist attractions or explore the city. Madrid offers day tour hop-on-hop-off tickets on their red buses to make city travel relatively easy and affordable. Art lovers may want to visit the famous Museum of El Prado, which features several famous works of Renaissance artists. Other sites include the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Puera del Sol Square in the city centre and Madrid Rio Park. The city is a shopper’s paradise, with malls, boutiques, markets, antique and craft shops for all budgets. 
  • Farewell dinner at the hotel.


  • After breakfast, depart by bus to Madrid International Airport for a direct Air Canada flight to Toronto.

As Catholics, we’re challenged to pray daily. Apart from Sunday Mass, there are more possible ways to pray than I can even list, and I find it hard to decide what to focus on. 

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

I struggle to keep up with the fast pace and heavy reading load that comes with studying English and as each year progresses, I am tempted to let my spiritual to-read list stack up in the corner until school calms down.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

The lives of the saints are a huge part of Christian tradition and there are many who we associate with the Christmas season. You probably know the story of St. Nicholas. There’s also, of course, the Nativity story and the birth of Christ, with Mother Mary, St. Joseph and St. Gabriel the Archangel.

But do you recall the least known Christmas saints of them all? Here are just a few.

Published in Christmas