Sanctus Locus

I have been on a Pilgrimage.

It began on that superhighway known as Google. Then, it was on to numerous rummage sales and thrift stores in regions far and wide.  Antique stores seemed logical since what I was searching for was something very old.  I left each one disappointed.  Often, there were situations fraught with danger and loathsome creatures….like bats, and in one place on the prairie, a very tall and rickety ladder that ended in a barn loft full of pigeon poop.

Who knew that I would find exactly what I was looking for in the most unlikely of places?

A Church.

Actually, it really isn’t so much a church as it is a building that used to be a church.  The church has, er….left the building.  It is set to be torn down along with the tiny parochial school and church rectory owned by the diocese. An entire city block of old, brick structures will be gone soon according to the nice Church Lady who helped me the other day at this formerly sacred,  now dank and moldy,  place where hundreds of families once went each Sunday to worship and practice their faith.

I am not a member of this parish or any other, for that matter.  This would, no doubt, disappoint my Irish Catholic grandfather, who attended Mass every week of his life, sitting in the same pew in a tiny mission church  on the Leech Lake Indian reservation which, ironically, was named after St. Catherine, a virgin princess and scholar who was martyred during the 4th century by the pagan emperor Maxentius.

But, as I’ve already explained…I was on a pilgrimage, on a  search….which is how I ended up at a  rummage sale in a church.

Hallelujah and BINGO.  There they were!  Rows of old, oak pews!   I did a little liturgical happy dance in the aisle. The benches are heavy and solid, and worn smooth by the bottoms of the Faithful (or Fidgety) who, for over a hundred years celebrated Mass in that sacred place.   My treasures will be cut down to size and delivered to me soon.

When our house was built several years ago, one of the things that I absolutely, positively, wanted in my kitchen was a breakfast nook. When I was young, the family of a good friend of mine lived in a beautiful, older home that, in addition to a sun room, had a fine old kitchen with a breakfast nook.  I remember summer days of good sandwiches made from thick slices of her mother’s homemade bread and glasses full of her dad’s homemade root beer and toe-numbing January “snow days” of hot cocoa with marshmallows slurped up while sitting in that nook. Those memories of those times, that kitchen, that childhood still make me smile and feel warm inside.

My own nook, with the old church pews, will look nothing at all like the place I remember.  And yet, to me, this space in this house built in the woods will be a sacred one to me. It will be  small enough for a dinner for two and a spot where friends will visit, face to face, over cups of coffee.  It will be large enough for the frosting of Christmas cookies and cousins and Thanksgiving pie.  It will be a comfortable spot to linger, to laugh, to visit.  A place of peace and communion. Every family needs a nook. A place in a kitchen built solely for the purpose of holding in the love.

The great cathedrals of the world were built by men.

Women build different kinds of churches.

This will be mine.

4 Replies to “Sanctus Locus”

  1. Oh! “Every family needs a nook.” What priceless words… Some of my best memories, especially when my children were little, were made in a nook. We live in an old farmhouse, and the little original breakfast nook is no longer; a former resident took just half of it away to put in a powder room. Practical, yes, but oh, how I’d love to have that ripped out, put somewhere else, and be able to sit by the window there in that original nook and ponder the beauty of the back fields over a cup of tea, talk with an old friend or my neighbor about life’s happenings this week, or my now-grown son and daughter about … anything. Conversations in a nook, at the table, are priceless. Congratulations on your find! Savor, and enjoy!

    1. Thanks! Yes… I really think that when people stopped building little spots in kitchens that we lost something important. I love my dining room when we have a large gathering of people to feed, but there’s just something about those small, enclosed spots for reading the paper, visiting, etc.Enjoy your day! LW

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