Friday, December 20, 2013

A Church Around Every Turn

It is funny how the few hikes we have been on in the south of France, have led us to a church. Not all of them are maintained, some are in shambles. None the less, obviously people worked hard and suffered greatly to get to their places of worship.
Okay, these hikes are more like a saunter in the woods, but it is curious what you find along the way. Nearby, there is a gorgeous creek lined with majestic plane trees and a trail that winds its way into a canyon with a few caves along the way then low and behold, a split in the trail, and at the top of a hill is a small church.
Outside of Cotignac is a popular area for walkers, picnic-ers, hunters and worshippers. After strolling up an old road, one is welcomed by a large, well-tended monastery. The view is gorgeous, the grounds are very pretty and the history long. You can read about it here
My children, being completely ignorant of all things church related, took a seat on a pew and proceeded to giggle uncontrollably in the silent church while others were concentrating on their prayers. I quickly ushered them out and continued to explore the exterior of this amazing place of peace.
   I say it is an amazing place of peace, but my children are also faced with vivid imagery in all of these churches of Christ gruesomely hanging from his stake. I can not say these scenes are enticing my children to Sunday school.
   My mother arrives tomorrow to spend Christmas with us. There is an ancient Abbey close by that I discovered this fall and I am planning on taking her to it. It is a popular destination and has a fabulous tour explaining the lives and self sufficiency of these worshippers that were probably very happy spending their days praying to their holy Father, making wine from their vast vineyards and pressing olives for oil from their hectares of olive trees scattered about the countryside.

The raucous crowd arrives.
A place of offering 
It was here that St. Joseph appeared to a thirsty shepherd and this water source sprang from the earth.
I am going to go hear the chants, perhaps without my children

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