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Mass and Monasteries along the Camino Frances

2020 Camino Guides

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
My 15 year old son and I are starting in SJP this May. For us, it is both a religious pilgrimage and a priceless father-son adventure.

Because we have a full 38 days available, I'm looking at side trips as well (e.g. Santo Domino de Silos). I'd like to maximize our opportunities to stay at the various monastery guesthouses, as well as to attend daily Mass as frequently as is practicable and absolutely on Sundays.

I'm looking for two things, neither of which I could find in a consolidated form after searching the site (though perhaps I missed it).

1) A list of active monasteries and convents (both male and female), including those that might involve a side trip.
2) A list of towns where we can attend a Catholic Mass. Distinctions between whether Mass is available only on Sunday or during the weekdays would be a good thing.

While I can (and will if I must) construct these from guidebooks and other forum postings, a consolidated format would save a lot of time.

PAX,
Matt
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Shalom Matt
I cannot help you much, not being very religious and in fact not even Christian however I would like to add one small word. If you have included the monastery in Santo Domingo de los Silos then consider the visit as an absolute must! The monastery itself is amazing and the Gregorian chants are rightfully world renowned. There is a small bus leaving out from the Burgos bus station late afternoon around 1700 it takes a good hour to do the 60 kilometers since it is a rural bus and may and often does stop at every crossroads. It should get you into SDdlS in time for Vespers. The bus back leaves at 0745-0800 the following morning meaning you will not have seen the monastery and no mass. So plan well it's a good two day side trip deserving every minute there but it knocks out two days and more should you fall on a weekend! There are some albergues and hotels none especially attractive and some restaurants but the reason you come is to be enchanted by the singing and the beauty of the monastery.The church by the bus stop in SDdlP has a guest house but one must arrange before arrival. Buen Camino.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
One of the things that surprised me while walking the Camino is actually the non-availability of open churches along The Way. I could not find an open church in Pamplona old center on a weekday morning to go in, say some prayers, and light a candle before embarking on my walk-- not the Cathedral, nor a couple of others I knocked on the door. Not sure what to make of that...

That said, do not miss the church in SJPDP right by the Spanish Gate from where you are to start your Camino. The benches on the outside (front) date back from the 12-13th century and is where pilgrims used to sit and wait for the Church's distribution of bread and wine (sometimes even shoes!). I lighted a candle for my Camino in this church and the thought of that moment still brings me back...

The church in Roncesvalles is also very inspiring and open most of the day. Try to get there before 6pm so that you can catch the 6pm Mass with its beautiful blessings to the Pilgrims in 15 languages.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
Olivares said:
One of the things that surprised me while walking the Camino is actually the non-availability of open churches along The Way.
I've seen other threads dealing with churches being locked, etc. although this isn't surprising, given declining vocations, depopulation in many areas, threat of vandalism, and reported widespread disinterest by many pilgrims. The whole purpose of my question is to flush out those places where one, whose primary purpose is a Catholic pilgrimage, can partake of the Sacraments.

Thanks for the suggestions of SJP and Roncesvalles. Both are on my list.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
The monastery at Samos and the church in San Juan de Ortega both offer lodging. Even in the month of May both will be extremely cold during the night, San Juan de Ortega also throws in the wonderful aroma of Middle Ages mildew but in Samos they awaken you with music if your chattering teeth have not already done so. The new albergue in Roncesvales has resolved these problems which were also common there so feel free to stop. Little considerations not often mentioned in the guidebooks but entirely relevant.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
JohnnieWalker --- THAT is exactly what I was looking for with parishes. Somehow I missed this previously on their site.

Still looking for active monasteries/convents along the way. Any similar kinds of recommendations?

PAX
Matt
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
In Catholic Christianity there are five Holy Cities that celebrate a Jubilee or Holy Year – three of
these are in Spain.
Liébana - where you will find the relic of the Lignum Crucis, the largest surviving fragment of Christ’s cross. The Monastery of Santo Toribio was founded in Mount Viorna in the 6th century, although the current church is from the 13th century.
Santiago de Compostela resting place of James the Greater
Caravaca de la Cruz (Town of the Cross)

Take a side trip from Pamplona to the monastery at Leyre and, if you can spare one more day, the stunning monastery of San Juan de la Pena in Aragon.

14 km south-west of Azofra are the magnificent monasteries of Suso and Yuso, the first built between the 5th and 6th centuries and the Yuso around the 16th century.

Take a bus from Burgos to the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos where the Gregorian chants were made famous a few years ago. (The trip itself is an experience, along narrow winding roads, through stunning, rock-face scenery.) The cloisters are unique and the pharmacy museum is worth a visit. The bus leaves Burgos at 17h30 and returns at 08h30 the next day, not leaving enough time to see the village, hear the chanting and visit the museum so plan on spending at least two nights. Reasonable place to stay. http://www.hotelsantodomingodesilos.com (Males can stay in the monastery)

From Leon, a trip up north to Oviedo to see the Sudarium which is kept in the Camara Santa, the second most sacred relic in Christendom. This is the cloth used to bind Christ's face and mouth during His entombment, which is now used to bless the people every Good Friday as well as each Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross (14 September). The Cathedral also contains five thorns (formerly eight) from the crown of thorns. A fragment of the true cross and a sandal worn by Pope St Peter the Apostle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudarium_of_Oviedo

From Eirexe do a 6 km detour to the recently restored, spectacular monastery of San Salvador at Vilar das Donas.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
sillydoll said:
...The bus leaves Burgos at 17h30 and returns at 08h30 the next day, not leaving enough time to see the village, hear the chanting and visit the museum...
You and scruffy1 both mentioned the problem of the bus timing. Do most people arrive in Burgos, hop the bus that same day, and then explore Burgos after they return? Or, do they overnight in Burgos, explore town the next day, and then head out to Santo Domingo de Silos? It seems to me that the morning bus ride back gets us out walking on the road again awfully late.

Burgos strikes me as one of those places worth spending a full day exploring.

Thanks for the other suggestions, BTW. Are the monasteries you mentioned in Leyre, Aragon, near Azofra, and Vilar das Donas all active monasteries?
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
One splendid Cistercian monastery to visit is Santa Maria de Sobrates at Sobrates dos Monaxes in Galicia. This is north of the CF but you can easily walk there in a few hours from Arzua. They have a simple pilgrim albergue as well as an hospedero. All guests are welcome at their services. Here is their website >> http://www3.planalfa.es/sobrado/sobrado.htm
Buen Camino to you both,
Margaret Meredith
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
To see even a portion of everything there is to see in Burgos you would need at least a week! To see the most important monumnets - 3 days. If you don't have time, take the little choo-choo train which, although it doesn't stop, will take you past most of the important monuments.

It is really worth spending two nights in Santo Domingo. Its hardly worth the trip to attend one mass and then leave! You can attend the morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon anf evening services if you have a full day.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
You can find bus schedules here:

http://www.aytoburgos.es/archivos/turis ... 12-ago.pdf

The return from Santo Domingo de Silos seems to be at 1000 now. That is still not late enough to visit the cloisters, which will be closed by the time the 1730 bus arrives in town.

I have always taken the bus to Santo Domingo de Silos on my arrival day, then toured Burgos when I returned the next day. It has worked well.

Another possibility is to rent a car for about 100 Euro, and share the cost with other pilgrims you have met heading into Burgos.
 
You can find bus schedules here:

http://www.aytoburgos.es/archivos/turis ... 12-ago.pdf

The return from Santo Domingo de Silos seems to be at 1000 now. That is still not late enough to visit the cloisters, which will be closed by the time the 1730 bus arrives in town.

I have always taken the bus to Santo Domingo de Silos on my arrival day, then toured Burgos when I returned the next day. It has worked well.

Another possibility is to rent a car for about 100 Euro, and share the cost with other pilgrims you have met heading into Burgos.
Falcon,
So you spent a night in Burgos as well?
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Acogida Christiana en el Camino, ACC, is an association of Christians offering services to pilgrims on the way to Santiago. Have a good look at their site.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
LePuy, Frances, Aragones, Ingles, Vezelay, Toulosana, Muxia, Fisterra, Portugues, Sanabres
Falcon,
So you spent a night in Burgos as well?
I have spent two nights out of six visits to Burgos. Once I had seen the cathedral, the city held little interest for me. Big cities are not my favorites. I now move on, or take a side trip.
 

GSatt22

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Hola,

I would suggest taking the Brierely 'alternate route' after leaving O'Cebreiro and spending a night in Santos. The Monastery is very impressive and active. And the pathway is really lovely once you get over the first few km, which are next to the road. It was one of the most pleasant days I had.
 

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