Consecutive Days Riding: 34 Consecutive Days Blogging: 35
Today’s Mileage: 5 Total Trip Mileage: 304
Holidays and Holy Days on November 12:
Birth of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i celebration of the birth of their founder and teacher
As I ride the bike today I am thinking about the nature of pilgrimage sites. I’ll let you decide whether you believe today’s site warrants inclusion on the list of Pilgrimage Sites as we are visiting an interesting place in North Miami Beach which is now a beautiful and popular place for weddings and receptions. I found a travel review which stated: “The story behind this place is more interesting than going there.” While I have labeled it as a “Christian” site, it might be better to think of it as a Marriage Remembrance Site! I believe this site; The Spanish Monastery has importance and significance.
First, I think it reiterates that for some pilgrimages it’s not the site that has significance, but the journey required to arrive at the site. Like the Miley Cyrus song stated: “It’s the climb.” I remind myself of this when I find the flower garden bare or the creek dry after a long walk. I have written a number of poems and viewed beautiful images I would not have seen if I hadn’t taken that walk/journey.
Second, the story of how this Spanish Monastery which predates Columbus’ arrival in the New World found its way to the shores of a “distant land” is fascinating! It might be seen as a story of a “rescue” of a decaying work of architectural art, a grand but misguided business endeavor, or the appropriation of the relics of another time and place for our use in the present.
I believe our American culture and to a degree historically Western culture has a tendency to buy treasures, or claim sites that produce a readymade “history.” Is it our impatience to wait for our own relics and sites to develop? Or do we have a sense of entitlement towards the treasures of old, or any site that we discover, whether or not it might already have special significance to others? I am reminded of the early Christian colonists declaring they were “God’s chosen” and the New World their “promised land”. Of course that meant that the native inhabitants were, at best, potential converts, or at worst “Canaanites” who warrant only removal and destruction.
An additional issue this visit raises for me has to do with discovering the “true meaning” of a site or a journey. If you Google wedding reception sites in the Miami area, you will find this historic monastery listed. Is that a “good use” of the space, or an affront to the building’s “true meaning?” It was built for a sacred purpose, consecrated with sacred rituals, and inhabited for centuries by dedicated spiritual seekers. How does the current use enhance or undermine this history? Does it matter?
When I first investigated this site I found videos about it on YouTube. The first I viewed showed a young lady quietly lighting votive candles at the entrance to the sanctuary. The second video showed a boisterous, youthful wedding party dancing wildly to the Village People anthem YMCA!
Please click on the tab at the top of this page entitled: Pilgrimage Sites to visit the Spanish Monastery. Have a wonderful day!
The information on holy days and sacred holidays comes from http://www.interfaithcalendar.org.