January 24, 2011 — An evening in a Benedictine Monastery Albergue   Leave a comment

We walked into Samos in early afternoon tired and ready for a nap. We only walked 10 km, so it was a brief trek. It was a beautiful walk in beauty and inspirational scenes. Cleber, the Brazilian walked with us for a bit but then passed us. He is staying at the albergue. When we arrive at the albergue next to the monastery, he is already there.

Along the way, we stopped for a bite in one of the small villages near a cow pasture. The birds came by and so did a huge fly, almost looked like a bumble bee. We ate the left over bread from last night and some cheese and gigs plus a bag of potato chips. We must be getting used to the stench of the cattle. The cows were waiting to be led to pasture.

After a rest, we went to a tour of the monastery. Benedictine nuns live here, too, but we don’t see them, just the monks. After the tour we went to see the 1000 year old tree that Quentin told us was a must. Currently only 12 monks live in the monastery and they were all at mass and sang. Their deep sonorous voices — beautiful voices–resonating in the cavernous space although the mass was in a small side chapel not in the main church. The monk at the monastery shop is older; the one who leads the tour is younger. A fire destroyed the monastery including the library. Now, the new one has over 300,000 volumes.Stories of San Benito. Santa Scholastiaca his sister wanted to talk all night he didn’t want to so she prayed for rain; God granted the miracle and they talked all night. In the morning when the storm cleared, she went back to her convent. When he opened the door, a white dove flew out so he knew she was dead.  He had the monks bring her body for burial in teh monastery. Among the precious relics, one finds a thorn from Christ’s crown of thorns. San Julian and Santa Batida are the martyrs of the monastery. Their bodies are here. She was not really martyred as he was killed. The stories abound. The characters are incredible! In the 60s the murals were painted by contemporary painters: Enrique Navarro and Celia Cortez. The guide points to a spot on the mural, draws our attention to a washing machine in the mural! We kill time until mass and after mass we walk to a restaurant for dinner with Cleber. Because we needed to be back by 10 pm and it was really close, the waiter gives us  a ride. We made it just in time! The albergue is freezing cold–I pile up blankets. The older Japanese man who is a retired economist is asleep already.  We are almost there so I know we are to begin the process of reflection. Time to focus on the lessons learned. My resilience. My discipline. My tenacity. The monastery has a beautiful organ, but it goes unplayed. I think of Ray Keck and how he would love to play it.  The 1000 year old cypress is majestic against the blue sky. It is a marker along the Camino although Samos is a bit of a detour.

1000 year old cypress

Samos. Where even the trash cans are in the shape of the viera, the scallop shell. The monastery of Samos, historical and blessed space. Where will it be when there are no more monks? Samos. I will not forget the freezing night I spent there, nor the magical mass shared with the pilgrims. The sound of the benedictine monks’ voices intoning the holy mass. I will not forget Samos.


Posted January 28, 2012 by normacantu in Uncategorized

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