Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Camino de la Cruz

Trying to straighten up my office, cluttered by the remains of translations and other projects, I came across something that was perfect for this week, Holy Week.

Chapel at albergue in Ponferrada.
Last summer, I spent a few high-stress weeks as an hospitalera, basically, a guest-house attendant, in an albergue, or pilgrim hostal, on the Camino de Santiago where it passes through Ponferrada in the province of León on the edge of Galicia.  The albergue, San Nicolás de Flue, has its own chapel, a beautifully restored little stone chapel whose construction dates to the 17th century. 

Interior of Ponferrada chapel.
At evening prayers, I often found myself looking a painting on a side wall of the chapel that depicted the priest and congregation, coming back from the procession they have every year for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who is the patroness of the chapel.  It was a very striking painting; this photo doesn’t do it justice, I’m afraid.

Painting by Gomez Domingo in chapel.
Don Antolín, the priest responsible for the chapel, told me that the painting was by an artist named Luis Gómez Domingo, who was originally from Teruel but had been living in Ponferrada for many years, teaching at the university.  Don Antolín also gave me a little booklet of a truly beautiful Camino de la Cruz (Way of the Cross) painted by Gómez Domingo in 2007 for the traveling religious art exhibit, Las Edades del Hombre.  Camino de la Cruz depicts the traditional 14 episodes in Jesus’ path to the Crucifixion, which are known to English speaking Catholics as the Stations of the Cross.


I am not sure of the size of the original paintings or even where they were exhibited. Las Edades del Hombre is an annual exhibit that is sponsored by the bishops of the dioceses of Castilla y León, and is set up in different cathedrals in that territory.  The diocese or deanery in which the exhibit is located brings out rarely seen works of art from the local churches or the diocesan treasuries, and sometimes new works, such as this one, are created.  The website of Las Edades del Hombre is quite beautiful and worth visiting.  This year’s exhibit will be in Soria from May to December.


But now let us contemplate a section of this beautiful Way of the Cross by Gómez Domingo.