Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Touch of Paradise

At the end of January, my sister and her husband were kind and generous enough to invite me to spend a week with them at their home in Barbados. After nearly two months of -30's temperatures, I was very happy to accept. This is a beautiful place in the world and for me reflects very much the beauty of its Creator.

This beauty was also emphasized in the sun rise which was at 6:00 am and not 8:45 am as in Regina. Although Regina makes up for that in the summer!

During the week, Fr. Harcourt Blackett, the Rector of the Cathedral in Bridgetown, very generously took me on a tour of his island country. I felt the love and attachment he had for his home and his delight in its history and natural beauty.

He took me to Codrington College, an Anglican Theological School at which he also teaches a course. He has a degree in Ecumenism from Trinity College in Dublin which he puts to good use here. The College was opened in 1745 and thus is the oldest Anglican Theology College in the Western Hemisphere.

Another very interesting place was St. Nicholas Abbey, a plantation house built thirty years after the British settled Barbados in 1625.

And if you want to know what an authentic 17th century plantation house toilet was like, here you are. A little too social for me, I think!

Among the earliest workers on the sugar plantations were Irish who were sent by Cromwell to Barbados as "indentured servants," slaves for all practical purposes. What is seen here is a cave that served as a place where these Catholic Irish would come for Mass. The Penal Laws were in effect at that time and it was against the law to practice the Roman Catholic Religion.

Another very interesting building is the Jewish Synagogue in Barbados. It is a lovely building and also is very old, having been built in 1654.

Evidence of Faith is found in many places such as this shrine which I came across walking along the beach. And of course continued evidence of the exquisite beauty of creation. These flowering bushes were a delight to see at the end of January.

We see lots of pointsettias at Christmas, here is one growing in a natural habitat and flowering every year.
"You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and the of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy." (Psalm 65:5 - 8)

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