Nostalgia and Grace, by Carolyn Lee (page 2)

Awakening to the Sacred

My interest in religion and sacred art began to bud a little later. When I was eleven I went with my family on a long tour of England and the Continent that took us to all the notable monuments of Europe. Foremost among these were the Gothic cathedrals of England and France, which touched a chord in me that I could not explain. It was more than mere admiration for the architecture. This response was even stronger when we visited the great ruined monasteries. At the abbeys of Rievaulx and Fountains, nestled in the windswept hills of Yorkshire, I was captivated by the empty choirs and cloisters, and asked every possible question about the lives of the monks who once lived there. An intense nostalgia arose in me that I would not understand for many years. But I now recognized that there was more to Christianity and to religion than I had ever heard about in my local Methodist church.

This intuition was strengthened even further at the church of Sacre Coeur in Paris. I felt a numinous presence, a real invisible power there that I can now identify as my first experience of the sacred. Years later, I was most interested to hear of Avatar Adi Da's visits to Sacre Coeur in 1986 and of His comments about it. He confirmed that is was a place of true devotion in the Christian tradition.

By the end of our stay in Europe, the future design of my search was assured. I resolved to spend my teenage years back in Australia studying music and languages so as to gain scholarships that would enable me to return to Europe as a graduate student, and stay, if possible, forever, learning more and more about its history, which felt like my own past.