Maria Ines Galvez walking "El Camino de Santiago," the legendary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Maria Ines Galvez is no stranger to tests of physical and spiritual endurance. Every January, she plans a personal goal and dedicates her year to pursuing it — challenging work that usually involves going far outside her comfort zone.
In 2010, the year she dedicated to gratitude and thanksgiving, she decided to walk “El Camino de Santiago,” the legendary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. She knew that this physical challenge would be spiritually fulfilling and would also allow her to show gratitude to God. “Every night, in every town, there was a special pilgrims’ mass. I tried to make it to mass each night, no matter where I was,” said Galvez.
This past January, Galvez committed herself to charity towards those in need. She was trying to find the best way to do this when her running partner, Father Joseph Tyrrell of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, suggested she run the ING New York City Marathon for Catholic Charities New York.
“It all started with Fr. Joe,” said Galvez. “He was my inspiration. I thought, if he could run the marathon, so could I.”
By running with Team Catholic Charities NY, Galvez is working toward her 2012 commitment by raising $5,000 in support of the St. Nicholas Project, a Catholic Charities initiative that provides critical social services and charitable support to New York families in need.
“Training for the ING NYC Marathon has become a life-changing event for me, not only physically but spiritually as well,” said Galvez. “It is very grueling, but when I feel tired and want to stop, I think about the commitment I’ve made to those who will be benefiting from my fundraising for this race.”
So what does Galvez say is harder – walking the Camino de Santiago, or training for the NYC Marathon?
“The Camino is harder,” said Galvez. “When you’re on the pilgrimage, if you don’t cover enough miles in the day, you won’t be able to find a place to sleep. There are rural houses along the route that take in pilgrims, but they are only accessible at certain intervals – and sometimes, all the beds are full.”
Maria Ines works at BBVA S.A. as an analyst in the Structured Trade Finance Team.