Abbey pilgrims follow in Benedict’s footsteps
Thursday, 1st November 2007
A group of 39 pilgrims gathered at Westminster Abbey earlier this month, spending the day discovering how we try to live a Benedictine way of life, experiencing at first hand our worship and hospitality, learning about some of the work done by our staff, and touring the Abbey and it’s gardens.
After a night in a Westminster hotel the group flew to Rome and from there transferred to Cassino, where Benedict wrote his Rule.
We had a wonderful visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino itself, where we were able to celebrate the Eucharist and hear the monks sing Vespers, and then later we went to the Commonwealth War Cemetery where we held a short service of Remembrance.
While staying in Cassino we also visited other Benedictine Abbeys in the region; one at Trisulti, right up in the mountains and the other at Casamari in a beautiful area down on the plains.
On the fourth day of the pilgrimage the party moved on to Subiaco via Anagni, a fortified medieval town with a wonderful cathedral where we saw the most outstanding Cosmati paving and stunning wall paintings dating back to the 13th century, but in such good condition that they could have been painted yesterday.
Subiaco is the place where Benedict spent three years in a cave after he left his studies in Rome.
Here he was looked after by a monk by the name of Romanus and it was during this time that Benedict discovered his calling to set up communities of monks dedicated their to prayer, study, work and serving others.
Throughout the pilgrimage we reflected on some of the great themes running through Benedict’s Rule - those of listening, stability, conversion, balance, community and hospitality.