from this water…

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Year 2006. This is Casa do Gaiato. Here, together with another 180 boys, I grew-up. Here I’ve been living 17 beautiful years.

From this fountain the water flows since when, only God knows … 250 years, 350, 450 …

The Benedictine convent that existed in Paço de Sousa, the Saint Saviours’ Monastery, in its nearly 250 years of existence has gone through many tribulations, internal and external, mainly due to the unchallenged Jesuit Order, internal power struggles and external influences, papal bula , devastations, leaks, fires and looting. The chilled water that flows from this source comes from a crossing of dug mines in the womb of the earth with kilometres of extension as part of a water collecting system, ending in stoned tanks, which served for irrigation and other benefits such as shelters that saved many monks during the French invasion of Portugal being the North the most devastated region by such invaders that looted all churches form its gold and relics during the 3 Napoleonic attempts to conquer this little but stubborn country. The looted goods are since then enriching the museus of France as their own property. The complicated network of mines they built throughout the years was finally resorted to shelter, hardly knowing and imagining years before these immense corridors would save their lives.

Part of the land of the monastery were integrated in the Casa do Gaiato and in which this fountain is located. From this fountain from which flows a very fresh water all year around we drank so often. In the winter, freezing the gums and in the summer its immense freshness sated our thirst. It was the same mine from which springs this water, collected in a tank, the clothes and bed sheets of 180 boys were washed weekly, raining or windy, the four ladies who did it, compared to today’s comfort and conditions, can and should be considered our heroines because the laundry never lacked even such amount of bed sheets were always ready for the weekly change.

The Benedictine community inhabited the monastery from 1625 (living in it an average of 25 monks per three years) and ended by leaving in 1834. But in 1870, in an attempt to restore the Congregation of Monks Negros of Portugal, which the Benedictine obeyed, was installed there a college (it is known that the Benedictines were very dedicated to knowledge) but around 1904 the Benedictines definitely left Portugal surviving only the Singeverga’s Monastery in Santo Tirso, which by chance I had the privilege to visit, stay over two nights and sampled their famous liqueurs and jams.

PS: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fountains 

//jb.21january2015