The very first time I went to Shafter, the church was unlocked. That meant that I was able to wander around and take all the photos I could. It was amazing.
The very first time I went to Shafter, I met a hermit monk – Brother Pascal – who happened to be walking by. I’d just purchased one of his religious icon paintings the day before and we had a lovely chat. It was magical.
I’ve been back two or three times since then, and the magic’s gone. The church is always locked and there’s no sign of Brother Pascal.
But anyway. Here’s a photo of a slightly-open window, a couple of statues, and a big-ass insect of some sort.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
The men who are entrusted to carry the saint on her procession are all members of a family that’s been doing this important task for centuries. When we asked how that family was originally chosen, our guide said it was so long ago that no one knows. That sort of dedication to a saint, to personal beliefs, to a community is admirable. And is something that I do not believe I’ve witnessed before.
Thank you for your patience as I presented all these photos of Sicily. It took me several months to commit to making the trip; finally making the commitment to go was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. So, here’s my Big Important Advice: don’t put off doing that thing that you think you want to do but aren’t sure about it because this might not be the best time or your schedule might be too tight to make it work or what about that other thing that you’ll miss at home (or at the office) if you go. If you CAN, you should.
After the saint was moved from her niche, the faithful in attendance began to press forward – to briefly place their hands on the base of the statue, to take photos (or pose for them), to stand in silence for a moment.
Our group, without even seeming to have made a decision, headed for the stairs down from the loft (where yesterday’s photo was made), and joined the people moving toward Santa Rosalia. Why did we join up? I am not sure. What did we think would happen when we got to the saint’s statue? I have no idea. And what did happen when we got there? I can’t explain.
Chiesa Parrocchiale di Santa Rosalia