Historical setting: 584 C.E. The house of Eve, pagan healer
I was explaining to Anatase why Nic would ever want to join a monastery. She doesn’t seem particularly impressed with the life-long dream of an old soldier. She offers the easy assessment by a logical eight-year-old. “We all know what happened now, don’t we? They let him turn into a monk anyway.”
“Yes, of course, but I want to hear what happened at Ligugè.”
Anatase resolves, “Okay, I will read that part aloud. But if it isn’t interesting, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The Old Monk writes, ‘On my way here with the cart and your re… [peach pit] and the stone work of art, I stopped at the monastery at Ligugè. The abbot was very pleased to have a donation of art, such as it was. And I told him of our circumstances on a journey with Brother August and Brother Joel. I was hoping to use my wealth and the art piece to make an opening for us to have a useful place among the brothers of Ligugé. I feared my gift may not be worthy after I had a look around there. It seems this monastery, like the place I first begged a station was set here by the Saint himself all those many years ago even before he was made the Bishop of Tours. But I suppose you knew all that. In fact I’ll bet you were once good friends with St. Martin of Tours.’ Is that true?” Anatase asks.
“No. I was living in the east at the time of Martin. The first time I was at Ligugé was much more recent. But I saw that it still had a kind of openness that some of the communities of brothers no longer nurture. So when Nic and I added the two desert monks to our numbers our chance of acceptance seemed less to me.’
“Why?” she asks. “I would think they would want more monks at a monastery.”
“You would think so. But Brothers August and Joel were given their blessings and orders by different bishops and I was afraid there would be a rivalry among the abbots. If they would be turned away I wanted to be there to speak for them. I was at Ligugè about two years before the time we would have been arriving so the abbot might have remembered me and would listen to my recommendation.”
(Continues Tuesday June 29, 2021)