Friday, June 8, 2012

First Step of the Journey: Nunraw Abbey

The most important step before beginning a pilgrimage, I think, is resting.

It would be pretty safe to say that Michele and I were pretty shot by the time the Ireland/Scotland tour was completed, and we knew this would be the case. So back in the winter, when we were laying out our plans, we decided to take a few days' rest before crossing the English Channel.

We are in Nunraw, a Trappist monastery about 45 minutes south of Edinburgh. We came here because we knew we'd be off the map; the place has no Internet, and cell phone coverage only if you're standing 152 feet southwest of the guest house, upside down in the pouring rain– in other words, peace and quiet are assured. And that's enough!

This is the gatehouse of Nunraw.

Here's just a bit of history on the place: Monastic communities are founded from other monasteries. In Nunraw's case, they were founded in the mid 1940's, just as the Second World War was wreaking havoc on Europe. Their founding community came from Roscrea, in Ireland. It is now a very small community of men – just a dozen or so. But they do the same thing other men of prayer do throughout the Trappist world: they sing the daily office, they work in the fields, they welcome the stranger as if they would welcome Jesus in their midst.

We arrived here in what the Scots would describe as "lashing rain." But no matter: we came here to rest and sleep and pray, and these opportunities are here in abundance.

It's also a chance to read up on a few of the materials we've brought along, to prepare for our next part of the journey, by train and Chunnel to Paris. Part of our preparations were to create PDFs of just about everthing we needed, so that very few books would be necessary. So for the next couple of days, in addition to some extra rest, we'll be poring over some of these electronic resources in order to map out our travels. While we know where we'll be every night of our trip, the days are spontaneous!

In the midst of these plans, there is the consolation of the prayer of the monks and the quiet pulse of the monastic schedule.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Haddington, south of Edinburgh, Scotland

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