This morning, sadly, I left my monastery retreat of the past few days. As I get the chance, I will blog about the experience. It was a grace-filled time.
Yesterday I walked from the monastery, into the village, across the bridge, and back along the river bank to the point directly across the river from the Abbey. It was at this point where, one thousand years ago, a frenchman, Gombaud, sought solitude.
We don’t know much about him. Perhaps he had family? Maybe he was a successful businessman? He could have been poor, and something of an outcast. But his status is not important.
What is important, is that he followed an impulse to move away from what his society said was important, that he might clearly hear what God reveals to be essential.
So he took himself off to a cave where he lived in solitude. Over the next few years, others followed. We know that the Mass was the heart of their lives (note the altar in one of the photos). We know too that the lives of these hermits was widely-known to be God-centred, since at the end of the eleventh century (1091), this site (just across the river) was chosen as the place for a monastery.
It is this monastery that thrives today.