sorrow and regret
pebbles under weary feet
road of penitence

Kim M. Russell, 2017

My response to Carpe Diem #1127 penitence

Chèvrefeuille tells us that the Road to Santiago has secrets but along the way we can find wonderful villages, cities and beautiful places like churches and cloisters. Somewhere along the Road to Santiago we will encounter a village named Osbanos where we can find a church devoted to Felicia of Aquitaine. In that church, built during the 12th century, there was a murder, the story of which is told by a wise old man whom Paulo and Petrus meet along the Road.

[…] ‘Right there. That’s the exact spot where love was murdered,’ said the old man, pointing to a small church built into the rocks.
The heat of the day was almost unbearable, and in all of the bars and villages where we stopped, the people complained about the drought. Because of the heat, we adopted the Spanish custom of the siesta and rested between two and four in the afternoon when the sun was at its hottest.
That afternoon, as we sat in an olive grove, the old man had come up to us and offered us a taste of wine. In spite of the heat, the habit of drinking wine had been part of life in that region for centuries.
‘What do you mean, love was murdered there?’ I asked, since the old man seemed to want to strike up a conversation.
‘Many centuries ago, a princess who was walking the Road to Santiago, Felicia of Aquitaine, decided, on her way back to Compostela, to give up everything and live here. She was love itself, because she divided all of her wealth among the poor people of the region and began to care for the sick.’
‘Her brother, Duke Guillermo, was sent by their father to bring her home. But Felicia refused to go. In desperation, the duke fatally stabbed her there in that small church that you can see in the distance; she had built it with her own hands in order to care for the poor and offer praise to God.
‘When he came to his senses and realized what he had done, the duke went to Rome to ask the pope’s forgiveness. As penitence, the pope ordered him to walk to Compostela. Then a curious thing happened: on his way back, when he arrived here, he had the same impulse as his sister, and he stayed on, living in that little church that his sister had built, caring for the poor until the last days of his long life.’ […]
(Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

first narcissus blooms
conquering the long cold winter
a new life starts

© Chèvrefeuille


3 thoughts on “Penitence

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