Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Virgin of Torreciudad

The Virgin of Torreciudad is a Romanesque elm wood carving of Our Blessed Lady seated with the Christ child on her lap. She is a throne for the Word Incarnate, the seat of Wisdom. It is said to date prior to 1084 and was originally housed in the 11th century hermitage, the ruin of which is located near to todays shrine. The virgin's primitive features and medieval proportions are not pleasing to the eyes of many today yet the statue is central to the shrine. It was to this statue that the mother of Saint Josemaria Escriva brought him as a dangerously sick infant and he subsequently recovered.
Whilst on holiday in El Tozal a pilgrim replica statue travels from house to house so that families can feel close to the Virgin and have a focus for family prayer. We also brought a statue back to England which we hope to circulate among families who have been to Torreciudad.

Monday, 27 August 2012

First Stop Torreciudad

The first time we saw the Shrine at Torreciudad in Spain, the visual impression was breathtaking. What a setting and how blue the water! Yet each time we visit, and this year was our 7th, the effect is the same – it never fails to impress.
Torreciudad is a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Aragon in the north of Spain. Devotion to Our Lady of Torreciudad dates back to the eleventh century. The new Shrine, built under the guidance of the founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaria Escriva, was opened in 1975. He said that what he hoped for from the shrine were "spiritual fruits: graces that the Lord will wish to grant to all who come to honour his Blessed Mother at her shrine. These are the miracles I desire: conversions, and peace for many souls." With this in mind, he asked for confessional chapels to be built and for everything to be done to enable people to pray at the Shrine in peace.
We stay at a village near the shrine made up of a few streets of Spanish villas. The idea was conceived by a Spanish gentleman whose idea was to enable large Spanish Catholic families to have a relatively inexpensive holiday. Now an international fortnight means that all nationalities can experience this place. Here families can go to daily Mass at the shrine before exploring the region or simply enjoying the sunshine. It is very pleasurable being with like minded families and very reassuring for children of all ages.
So after a boat trip from Portsmouth to Bilbao and an overnight in the city of Pamplona we arrived at El Tozal and made ourselves at home for 16 days

Monday, 20 August 2012

Holidays and Holydays in foreign parts

I haven't posted in a while due to a wonderful holiday in Spain and France (more on that later!) First an update on the intrepid Compostela pilgrims.
Both girls completed 'The Way', going beyond Compostela to Finisterre and then Muxia. They met us at the start of our summer vacation in Pamplona (having bussed back!) Both looked remarkably well for the experience although there had been many hard days along the way. We continue to pray that many graces will ensue. I hope to relay some of their Camino Impressions (with permission!) in future posts.
We travelled onward together to our holiday home near the Opus Dei Shrine of Torreciudad and, after a couple of weeks, our group dispersed leaving my husband and I to meander home through various interesting places in France. In the next few posts I will introduce my readers to one or two of them. Meanwhile I hope you had, or are having, safe and happy holidays.