Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Winter Wanderings - Part 3

Nova Friburgo

This year looked very much as though there would not be an opportunity to make a Lenten Retreat.  However I had not taken into account the generosity and friendliness of the SSPX community.  No sooner had I intimated that I was a Benedictine Lay Oblate than I was informed about Masteiro da Santa Cruz, a  Benedictine Monastery of the traditional rite only a couple of hours from Rio near the city of Nova Friburgo.  What my hosts could not understand however was the word Lent, or Lenten.  It was not until I said quadragesima that the penny dropped.  Classic case of an idiotic Anglo who thinks everyone should understand English!  Five minutes later and I was furnished with the name and telephone of a contact who might be able to assist.

Next day I was able to make contact with a delightful lady called Teresa Ferreiro da Costa who, as good fortune would have it, happened to teach English to students.  Soon all was ready for a weekend retreat.

The journey was by bus and being rather keen to see as much as possible of the country en-route I decided to sit at the front window seat.  Only a short while later as we made our way around numerous mountainsides I realised this was not quite my scene after all and quickly made a mental note to sit at the back on an inside seat.  The journey was not for the faint hearted!

  Teresa and some of her wonderful family pose in front of the Cathedral

Two and a half hours later we arrived, safely, at Nova Friburgo and I was able to put the pacemaker back into normal mode.  Nova Friburgo was settled by Swiss colonists at the request of the King of Portugal and as most of the emigres were from the Friburg area in Switzerland they naturally called it New Friburg.  There is still a strong connection with the "home country" and exchange visits are very well received.  My host, accompanied by some of the family, took me to see many wonderful sights including a trip to a Swiss Cheese maker.

The Swiss Cheese Factory

Our Lady's Statue in the quadrangle of the Jesuit School (formally a Jesuit seminary)

After a lovely day sightseeing I was kindly invited to have dinner at the da Costa home which is close to the monastery.  After a very pleasant meal it was time to complete the day's journey and so off to the monastery and to bed.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Winter Wanderings - Part 2

Rio Revisited - Lent 2010

It's Lent so it must be Rio.  Carnival week with its gloriously unashamed fun, fun and more fun - but not for me.  Ochone, ochone.  Ach well I'm a bit long in the tooth for looking at all those scantily dressed lassies in the parades.

Mass and devotions, now that's more my cup of tea (Earl Grey of course).  Where to find a traditional Mass is a mega problem in Rio.  Almost as scarce as hens teeth or a TLM in Scotland.  Fortunately I found a friend in Google.  So, for the faint hearted I shall come out now and publicly say - yes I went to an SSPX chapel throughout Lent in Rio.  There, I've said it and feel much better for it.

For me it was a rather pleasant experience with an unexpected bonus as you will find out later in this, or probably the next post.  The Chapel of San Miguel is actually the drawing room of the house of Mr and Mrs Fleichman who, on returning from Europe to find no vestage of the Old Mass remaining, are dedicating their remaining years to promote traditional Catholicism.  She may be seen below (second lady from the left).

Mass is offered either by a young SSPX priest residing at the fraternity's church on the outskirts of Rio or by Dom Lorenzo OSB, who happens to be the son of Mrs Fleichman.  The attendance at chapel  is normally so large that it overflows into the courtyard.  Like so many Traditional Masses I have attended I am constantly surprised, pleasantly I must add, by the numbers of young Catholics who treasure the traditional teachings and liturgy of the Church.

      Hearing Confessions                                                                An eloquent Speaker
Dom Lorenzo began his monastic vocation at Barroux in France under the guidance of Dom Gerard, transferring to Brasil as one of the founding monks of Sancta Cruz Monastery.  Dom Lorenzo now spends his time outside the community preaching and offering Mass wherever he is asked.

Fortunately for me he spoke a little English so we were able to have a small conversation after Mass.  I was also very fortunate to be introduced to Adriano  who spoke very good English and lived in the same area of Rio as my hotel so he kindly gabve me a lift back on a couple of occasions which saved me very expensive taxi fares.

All in all a wonderful opportunity to meet some very kind people and not to be missed if you are ever out that way.  How kind, well you will have to wait for my next posting.