Monday, October 12, 2009

local monastaries

On this brilliant Thanksgiving Saturday, we decided to make an excursion to see two monasteries, located in the Laurentian foothills just north of the Ottawa River. We took the ferry over the river at Carillion and drove toward Lachute and then west to Brownsburg-Chatham. The monastary of the Greek Orthodox nuns was found about 8 km west, at the end of the Chemin de la Carriere. The Saint Monastere Vierge Marie La Consolatrice was founded in 1993 by a few nuns from Greece, who brought their yoghurt- and cheese-making skills with them. There are now 22 nuns living in the monastary and visitors are very welcome to stay in their guesthouse, to picnic outside their little store and to buy their products. Women must put on a long skirt (can be borrowed at the boutique) and cover their shoulders if they wish to walk the grounds and enter the chapel. I took a photo of the river rushing down the middle of the property . There is a small park, with gardens and benches just beside the river.

After a lunch stop in Brownsburg, we took the route north and soon turned west toward Harrington and the Riviere Rouge road north to the Buddhist Monastary. It was a magical experience to enter the gates and find the exotic pagodas, temples and commemorative statues of Buddhist heroes set below a hillside of autumn foliage. We were greeted very warmly by a Buddhist monk, one of the many living there year-round. It seemed a place of joy and prosperity, although there were no flower or vegetable gardens. Why? For the love of the deer, who came out of the woods to eat away whatever the monks planted! Here I am with the statue of a jolly Buddha, greeting visitors at the entrance.

I would like to try standing in this goddess's shoes for a while: all those heads and hands available to take care of earthly tasks!

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