SACRILIGE on the Camino

First let me provide a definition of “sacrilige”:

  1. violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred.
    synonyms: desecration, profanity, profaneness, profanation, blasphemy, impiety, impiousness, sin, irreverence, irreligion, irreligiousness, godlessness, unholiness, disrespect“the sacrilege of committing a murder on holy ground”

Pretty bad stuff right. Well here is what happened a few nights back on the Camino in Pimbo, France about 138K from St. Jean Pied-de-Port. I was staying at the communal Gite there but found out they surprisingly did not include wine with the evening meal. So I bought a bottle to share with my German buddies; Sven and Andrea. Around 6PM an hour before dinner I thought a glass of wine would be nice. My wine had been sitting out and it was a bit warm so I went to put the wine in the freezer. In the kitchen at the time was Anne from Nantes who I had met in another Gite back in Lanne-Soubiran two nights earlier. She saw what I was doing and stopped me. She spoke English with difficulty but told me I was making a “Sacrilige”. I found this amusing as I had not heard this strong word used in a long time and always in a context around religion.

It made me think of when I was a small boy just a year or so after First Holy Communion and I had received the host (the body of Christ) in my mouth at a Sunday morning mass when I started to gag on it. I spit it into my hands and put it in my pocket. Now that seemed like an action appropriate for such a strong word.

So I suggest to Anne that it is no big deal and again attempt to open the freezer door. Anne stops me again and starts pleading with me not to do this. Then her friend Mary Frances comes into the kitchen and Anne tells her what I am doing. Mary Frances has glasses that cause her eyes to appear big. She throws her arms up in the air and her eyes grow larger and wider and she exclaims,”Sacrilige!”

Left to right; Mary Frances, Christiana (Anne’s sister), and Anne.

I am finding this highly amusing at this point but OK you win Anne. I place the wine in the refrigerator and Anne and Mary Frances are relieved and spared experiencing a sacrilige.

So my apologies to the French people. I now understand that wine is religion. I promise never to place a bottle of wine in the freezer ever again. One thing though, it is rare and unexpected when a pilgrim rate which includes dinner does not include wine. I look forward to that happening from now on as it will allow me to throw my arms in the air and exclaim “SACRILIGE!”?

Having fun on the Camino in France.

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1 thought on “SACRILIGE on the Camino”

  1. I, too, cried, “Sacrilige!” when wine was not included in the Pilgrim’s dinner at a French gite. Even 15th C English pilgrim William Wey asked the hospitelero, “Is there good wine in the house?” when chosing his abode for the night.

Happy to answer any questions and help in any way.