Saint Roch and the Art of the Camino (#CaminoTuesday)

I’m going to keep it short this week, because we’re diving into holiday planning, and there’s not much time or attention this week for anything that’s not a gift or a baked good.

But here it is, #CaminoTuesday again, and the assigned theme is “Favorite Camino Art.”

Which, I confess, threw me into a bit of an anxiety attack. That word–favorite–does it every time. How do I know if something is a favorite? Do I like the modern statues in the plaza of Burgos more than I like the stained glass in the chapel of Saint-Côme-d’Olt? Are the roadside crosses more meaningful than the stylized scallop shells?

Asking me for a favorite piece of art is like asking a mother about her favorite child, or me about my favorite book.

Or, you know, maybe I’m just overthinking it.

So I stopped and flipped back through my pictures from all three trips on the Camino. And I noticed something:

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The image I photographed more than any other—the art that drew me—was Saint Roch (often spelled Saint Roque in Spanish).

I’ve written about Roch before, on what has unexpectedly become my most popular blog post of all time. (A surprising number of people search for “patron saint of knees” every day, it turns out. I wrote about him in Walking to the End of the World, as well. He’s got a story with so many layers…the idealistic mission, the terrible illness, the dog, and then the tragic ending. Plus, he’s easy to spot: while lots of saints all look alike to this non-art-trained American, Roch’s flashy leg and loyal dog made him easy to find.

So if I measure “favorite” by what I seek, and what I react to, then Roch is my favorite. I love the loyalty of the dog who follows him, and the way he doesn’t hide his wounds. Roch makes me smile and inspires me, all at once.

And after all, isn’t that what good art does?

 

 

What is our favorite art from the Camino de Santiago? Add your story, with the hashtag #CaminoTuesday, on your blog, or on Instagram/Twitter. (And while you’re there, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, too!)


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