Monday, 17 May 2010

Winter Wanderings - Part 4

Masteiro da Santa Cruz

Owing to my late arrival on Friday the community were already asleep but a couple of the lay brothers were 'taking the evening air' and so after saying goodnight to the da Costas I found my cell and rested my weary head.

A little bit of history to start with. This small traditional Benedictine community of 10 monks was founded 18 years ago following a petition from the local people. The founding monks came from Barroux, the first attempt failed, but, thanks be to God, the second remains. On this occasion the strength of faith and determination shone through, plus of course it helps if one of the founding fathers is a family member. Again the da Costa family amply demonstrated their faith in donating a large plot of land specifically for the building of a monastic community. To date this devout family has given the Church three family members, all Benedictine religious; Dom Tomas de Aquino - Prior of Santa Cruz, plus a brother and sister in the Monastery of Bellaigue in France.

Located in the hills surrounding Nova Friburgo the temperature is quite temperate with frosts experienced during the Brasilian winter months. Interestingly the hills to the north are known as the Caledonian Mountains (a little nostalgic pause).

Dom Tomas being absent, Dom Antonio (seen here) in true Benedictine spirit, made me most welcome. This mild mannered, humble monk is truly an inspiration to all.

Language as usual was my weakness however the one thing that united us all and was understood by all was the Latin Liturgy.  Fortunately being a Benedictine Oblate I was able to use my Monastic Diurnal to great effect and was able to join the community during the Office.

Br. Jose at prayer behind the Rood Screen.  He has received his tonsure en route to being ordained into the priesthood.

A view of the monks cells.  

Behind the cells you may see an Ipe Roxo tree in flower.  The flowers are a vivid purple and only appear during Lent.  How appropriate!

To see more photos in this Lenten set please click here.


  1. Very interesting post. What a beautiful location - there is something of Scotland in the landscape.
    Please say a prayer for the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (FSSR) that their Order may very soon receive canonical approval. Regards and thank you.

  2. umblepie,

    Thank you for your kind remarks. There is so much more I could tell but thought the post would be too long. Perhaps for another day.

    You may be assured the community are in my thoughts and prayers, especially at this time. My intention it to pay a visit (retreat) in the not too distant future; certainly this summer.