Monday, October 29, 2012


A place of wonder.

This is what i wondered bout this little village in the south west of France.....
Who were the first people to live here and think,
"Mmmm vertical rock face, perfect for a village. Lets build up."?

I understand that it has been more than two millennia of nomadic human occupation and evolution for it to get to the cite that it is today. The earliest information is set in mystery and legend.
Yet the tenacity, audacity and fortitude people have had to maintain while clinging to the side of this escarpment is hard to fathom.
There is no wonder that there are a couple of churches here
One must have faith, to endure. 
Also when you look out across the valley and take in the beauty of both sides, a belief in a higher power is not surprising.

The four of us made out pilgrimage as a family touring, yet i had a very awe inspired experience.
I walked away with such gratitude and peace in my heart.
How is it that a place can help you have such an inner experience?

As we arrived the bells rang out, loudly across the valley. It was Sunday after all.
Driving to Rocamadour, i asked Mr M how he knew about this place. He said when he told a friend that we were going to Toulouse, the friend replied "Rocamadour". I then asked a number of questions about how our friend knew this town. Mr M did not remember. Well, to that friend i says thank you. 
It was a grand adventure today.

 I could see this town had heart from the beginning.
The architecture, so lovingly restored. In the high season a town like this must be flooded with tourists. My experience may be heightened by the fact it was a 6degree day at the end of October and that there were not bus loads of people today.

 Shutters to die for. 
Reflection of a gloriously sunny day.

 A place to admire, to contemplate, to pray....

On the left is a smaller chapel. 
An unusual shrine, a unique statue of Mary, alongside a shrine to Rugby.
Worship is worship. In all its forms.
On the right is the larger Miracle Chapel. With the statue of the black Madonna.

I saw this sign and my thoughts went into a spin. 
"Wait, i know about this.... I've read two books this year about the black virgin....
One of my aunts gave me a book for my birthday called Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd. I read it, on out last holiday, as we drove 3000km across Australia. 
She is the same author who wrote Secret Life of Bees. Oh my goodness...

So now it held a personal connection.
As well as fictional characters, i had fallen in love with & interesting facts about these Madonnas, i could feel parallels within my own life lining up.
The natural curve of the rock sheltering the building, while the building is sheltering the pilgrims.

The angelic shielding the weary, heavy hearted & brave.

It was not really noticeable but there are skeletons painted onto the wall to the right of the door. 
Like graffiti from the middle ages. Kind of creepy.
I guess the elements of heaven & hell. Human & divine. 

I entered through the door, 500years old? On the wall was a list of the miracles that have been recorded here.
This is  a good idea to record your miracles. I think i might start a list and put it on my fridge.
This place was aglow with candle light. the ceiling joined with the cliff wall. A strange effect, the reverence of a church with the nature of exposed rock.
Sunlight illuminating the stained glass. Angels watching over us.
The kids just wanted to light a candle. Their dad scooped them up and steered them toward the main chapel. The tears welled up. All that i had read was real in an instant. The history, the energy, the stories slammed into my heart. I had no thoughts, just this strong feeling that i was somewhere familiar.

The black Madonna here oversees the miracles of saved ships. There are many ship models displayed.
This Madonna sits in a boat. I light my candle and shut my eyes like she is.
The tears spilled down my cheeks.
I was her, she knew me. 

The traditional Mary stood along side her shadow.

The contrast of light & dark. 
Both illuminating.

There she was.
I sat, and was filled with gratitude.
All of my struggles, frailty, joy sat on a throne before me.
I was the mother, the daughter, creator and muse.

They were singing "Halleluja

They were waiting for me outside.
I am blessed.

sparkle & twirL*


Paulita said...

What gorgeous photos and a lovely heartfelt story. Now I'm going to ruin it by making a sort of joke, that another miracle occurred in the chapel when your husband read your feelings and swooped in to remove the kids. I think most husbands would have been oblivious.
Your website address didn't work right on Mister Linky from my page. I'm not sure why, but when I click on it, I go to a search page. Try copying the URL from your website and just pasting it in. You'll have to sign up again like you're another person. Thanks for playing. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky to visit Racamadour. When we were there last year the whole town was being renovated. Nothing was open! Everything was shrouded in tarpolines and the steps up to the cathedral were closed. We couldn't even get a drink. However, we were still amazed by this beautiful town and stopped for quite a while at the top of the valley before descending. On the way back to Sarlat la Canada we stopped at a goat farm not far from Racamadour. The cheese was superb and we had a tour of the milking sheds. What a drive though! Lots of love, Pxx

danasparkle said...

Thank you for your lovely messages. *

Louise said...

What an amazing town that is. Everything looks gorgeous.