It seems an age ago that we visited the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque on our September Pilgrimage, but it is only just over a month. For many of our pilgrims this was their favourite location for Mass this year. The Abbey Church is open to visitors during the day outside the times of services, so we were invited to celebrate Mass in the private oratory of the 10 monks who live there, which is actually the former refectory of this beautiful twelfth century monastery.
What is it that makes places like Senanque so powerful in their presence? The Romanesque architecture, the Provencal sun, the changing colours of the stone, the surrounding hills and lavender fields. Or is it something much more intangible, something that has soaked into those stones and inspired that architecture... And might we call that vital ingredient holiness?
We were only there a few hours, but those hours will stay with me. Luckily I have a tangible reminder, as the gift I received from the pilgrims this year - a figure of the crucified Christ - was bought there. Here for your pleasure is one of many videos on Youtube showing Senanque - so turn on your speakers, relax, enjoy. Fr M approves mightily.