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A Different type of Pilgrimage – A Tour in Europe with Angels V

August 1, 2014

After visiting Tyrol and Resia, we drove to Lago di Maggiore, Lake Maggiore.

We were interested to see surroundings of the lake, and the second day we decided to take a round tour.

We had been traveling together with thunderstorms during the whole trip, and it was raining and lightening that day too.
There is an old hermitage from the 13th century, clinging to a rocky ridge on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore.

It can be reached by a ferry or boat from the lake side, or on foot by descending down a long winding stairway…and of course, if you feel lazy, by taking an elevator.

The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso is built during several centuries.
The church has three parts from different ages, the lowest one is the oldest.



A story tells that the Hermitage was founded by Alberto Besozzi in 11th century.
He was a wealthy local merchant who survived a storm while he was crossing the lake.
After that, he decided to go into retreat on this part of the lake side, and become a hermit.

There were no tourists visiting the Hermitage when we arrived.

It was midday, and I think they were going to close the church for couple of hours.

Rain poured down heavily, and there was almost no sight over the lake.
As if grey curtains were hanging behind the columns and hiding the landscape behind them.

That created a feeling of a closed space between the columns and the rocky wall on the other side.

I could hear rain drops hitting the stones on the ground, and waves clapping the stones somewhere under me.

I couldn’t see any boats underneath, or hear any other people, just my kids running around in the rain a bit far from me.

I got a moment for myself, and I went to see the church.

I opened the door and heard beautiful choir music, it mixed with the sound of the rain and the smell of an old church.

I’m usually quite “open” when I visit old sacred places.
You can often feel the amount of prayers, feelings or thoughts that has been taken place there.

Sometimes I get a message from Angels, sometimes it’s just quiet.

It’s like life itself, you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.

I walked through all the three parts of the church.
There were some beautiful frescoes on the wall and the sealing.

When I was looking at them I saw a light Angel on the left side of the altar.
He gestured me to come closer, and to take a look into the niche beside him.

I went there.
All I could see was an organ and some chairs.
– What was the thing he wanted me to see?

He was tall and shining,
I couldn’t see his face, but he was still showing me with his hands that I should look for something special.

He was in some way proud of it.
I had no clue.

The altar on my right side was beautiful, and so was the choir music.
– Was it about singing and the music again?

If I got it right, this hermitage had been a Dominican Abbey before, and is nowadays taken care by the Benedictine order…
That information didn’t directly help me either.

I thanked this luminous Angel for sharing this moment with me.

I felt a bit stupid, but I decided to find out more about the church and it’s history later.

When I was wandering on the mountains in Resia, I picked up this piece of wood.

I took it from a place, where it was extra difficult for me to climb down.
I was a bit worried about my operation wounds and I didn’t want to fall.
That piece of wood was some kind of trophy, that I was able to use my body again, in every day basis.
I hadn’t been allowed to exercise or stretch for several months, and I felt almost paralyzed.

Afterwards I picked up my acrylic colors (those basic colors I bought in Japan)

and asked if I was allowed to paint the Angel I met in the Hermitage of Santa Caterina.

I was directly connected with a male Angel.
He had wonderful green blue eyes and calm appearance.
He was surrounded by harmony, such as the waves and the water of the lake were united with the prayers.

The sound of the lake was the song of the prayers, and the song of the prayers hearts.

Everything in the Hermitage was connected to the water and the rocks beside them.

He told how the days followed the rhythm of the lake and nature, and the rhythm of the prayers.

That created a total harmony,
even though the circumstances were often quite rough.
The elements of surviving in that harsh environment make them struggle, but at the same time were really awarding.

I could still feel the timelessness.
And I’m sure, it was not a coincidence that we visited the hermitage when there were almost no other people there.

It gave me the experience of being in a closed place,

 far from the noisy world and all the tourists

…as it was couple of centuries ago.

Thank you the Angel of the Hermitage of Santa Caterina,
It was a pleasure to meet you and pass on your message.

Thank you.


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Heather Kopp

Words fail, but sometimes I try

Steve McCurry's Blog

Steve's body of work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike - yet always retains the human element.

70 Degrees West

an environmental and humanitarian photo-documentary project from pole to pole along 70º west longitude

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