Monday, 8 April 2013

Montserrat, The Monastery and Basilica - The 21st of June 2006

The fact that the hill of Montserrat is situated just 38 kilometres from Barcelona and its legends have very often charmed people led us to take a train and then walk up all the way to its Monastery and Basilica.

Clearly impressive, no matter which way we looked at it ... whether it was the surrounding atmosphere that provided the grandeur or the "simplicity" of the huge complex ...

The present community of Montserrat is said to be made up of over seventy Benedictine monks, whose motto "Ora et Labora" still sets the rhythm of their daily monastic life.

The eighteenth century atrium that provided access to the church had a series of sculptures of Saints and Kings connected with Montserrat.

The image of Our Lady of Montserrat, popularly referred to as La Morenetta (The dark one) is a 12th century Romanesque polychrome carving enthroned in a silver altwrpiece installed in the upper section of the Basilica apse.

I still remember the solemnity with which  we walked up the mosaic-decorated stairway and then along the antechambers so as to touch her figure, which stood there stretching out the right hand in which she held a globe, symbolising the Cosmos and her left hand resting on her child's shoulder indicating he is her son, the omnipresent King, whose right hand gives a blessing, whilst the left hand holds a pinecone, symbol of fertility and everlasting life.

We had to stand in a queue of  quite a few dozens of worshippers ..., whose devotion to the Lady was noticeable in the way they approached her and seemed not to let go of her.

We then made the way of the cross  stopping at the 14 stations leading to the Holy Cave with its small chapel embedded in the rock, though we naturally made it not in the pilgrimage spirit which must characterise such a path ...

... I did pray, as if I had stepped back into my religious-oriented childhood ... the bareness of such a place impacted me ... and I did (do) feel we are nothing if not for a few convictions ...

Note: Photos taken by C.

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