At the heart of the Camino de Santiago is the meseta, the high flat plain of northern Spain, and at the heart of the meseta sits the village of Castrojeriz. Just before you reach the village, the Camino passes through the arches of the ruined monastery of San Antón.
Monasterio San Antón was a pilgrim hospital, run by the Antonine order. For seven hundred years, the monks tended to the pilgrims who passed by, and to those in the community who suffered. For another two hundred years thereafter, passers by wondered about the ruins of the once-great monastery. Now, it is a pilgrim hostel. (And I so wish I had stayed there on my own pilgrimage in 2006. The sleeping quarters were open to the air, and I wasn’t carrying a sleeping bag. But I imagine what it might have been like, watching the stars come out as the night fell, listening to the hooting of the owls that live in the remaining towers. Next time, for sure….)
This past winter, my friend Rebekah Scott approached me about doing some illustrations for a small booklet about the monastery, written by her and Robert Mullen and designed by our mutual friend Kim, the sales of which would help support the hostel (which is run entirely on donations). Yes! I said immediately. This week, the booklets arrived.
I have to say, this is a great little book. It is well-written, full of information, a treat for pilgrims and non-pilgrims alike.
Besides the cover illustration, I contributed a portrait of Saint Anthony, a reliquary, and an image of the remains of the great Tau rose window.
If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, you can make a donation via the Donate button on Rebekah’s blog, then send an email to let me know you’ve done so (be sure to include your mailing address) and I can send you a copy. Donations help keep the pilgrim hostel running; any amount will be a great help and greatly appreciated.