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.

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