A five-day silent retreat amongst the Cistercian monks at the Abbaye des Lerins on the Saint Honorat island off Cannes (France) — which I described in the chapter entitled Quick, Get Me to a Monastery! in The Idiot and the Odyssey: Walking the Mediterranean — always features surprising revelations beyond the anticipated spiritual renewal.
Although they’ve had Wi-Fi in a corner of the monastery for a few years, I still feel like a heathen, pagan and sinner when I get online. On this week’s stay, however, I was joined by a nun and some priests. The abbot, when I confessed that I couldn’t resist the temptation to use Wi-Fi, said “If that’s your only temptation I wouldn’t be too worried.”
I also got additional insight into the monks habits beyond their chanting presence at the daily church services when I joined them in the last few days of harvesting their grapes and praying in the fields.
Monastic MedTreks on the small island (it’s about a kilometer long) also helped promote inner calm.
Photos: Liz Chapin and Joel Stratte-McClure