The Shepherd’s Miracle

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Saturday, July 9, 2016
O’Cebreiro to Tricastela
Day 39

James had no interest, given his bad foot, in walking around O’Cebreiro, with its rough paving stones, so I set off alone to explore. I went back to the church, this time to see again the chalice and paten that are at the heart of the famous miracle. I won’t go into the details. (Michener tells it much better than I could, having heard the tale from a local shepherd on a dark and stormy night.)

The basic story is that a priest based in this town during the Middle Ages resented during the long snowed-in winters having to leave his warm hearth in order to say mass each day in this very cold church for a single parishioner, a humble shepherd. You can probably guess what happens and how the priest gets his just deserts. It’s a lovely tale. As I have throughout this journey whenever I have been in a church, I dropped to my knees and said an Our Father, a Hail Mary, a thank you to my mother and father, and a special plea to my sister, my own Saint Muffet, for her intercession. If anyone in heaven can help me and the rest of my family, it is she.

I also requested the help of Saint James. Besides being the patron saint of Spain and the reason for the existence of this pilgrimage route, St James is the namesake and hence patron saint of my uncle, my brother, my ex-husband, my ex-father-in-law, my son, and my nephew. “James” has special meaning on both sides of my family. I purchased a prayer card with a prayer to Saint James, and I silently re‐ cited it before leaving the church.

I went to the Palloza Museum next. O’Cebreiro is an ancient hill town, and the museum was filled with artifacts from bygone eras. It was interesting to learn how these hill people lived in their low slung pallozas (cottages) that look to me like brown mushrooms with thatch caps.

This town has really changed since Michener was here in the late 1960s, when it was practically a ghost town. Pilgrims have revived it. It now has several hostels and at least two gift shops catering to the visitors. As usual, I ducked into the tourist shops to see what treasures I could find. I purchased an O’Cebreiro pin to add to the collection of pins I have been amassing, one for each town in which we stop.

James and I set out for Tricastela in a taxi. We are booked into an amazing complex for pilgrims. Most of the rooms are dormitory style, but we have a private room with bath. Best of all, the complex boasts a laundry and WiFi. While washing clothes, I caught up on email and news from home. There is bad news out of Dallas. Three policemen have been killed in what might be the start of some sort of revenge killings for the murders of black men by policemen.

6,684 steps today

More photos are at July 9: O’Cebreiro to Tricastela

Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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