Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Caniac-du-Causse

Caniac-du-Causse had some of the prettiest village flowers that I saw on my exploring trip last week. It's also a very ancient village being inhabited since the Bronze Age. First mention of it in recorded history is in 624 CE. But the real reason I made a stop here is that this is where the honey I buy at the Saturday market in Cajarc comes from. Olivier Leseurre processes honey from his hives on both the Caniac and Cajarc causses here in this village. Abeille & Nature is my favorite honey. There is something so satisfying about visiting the place where your food is produced!


A bonus for my stop here, though, was that the church, l'Eglise St. Martin, was open. And I was introduced to a new saint when I visited it....St. Namphaise, who happens to be a biggie saint here in the Lot. St. Namphaise was an 8th century monk who established a monastery at Lantouy very near where I live. He then retreated to a cave here on the Caniac causse where he spent his days hammering out the porous rocks to make places to catch rainwater. According to legend, he is responsible for 800 little lakes that provide water to both wild and domestic beasts. In an area where water is very scarce, this alone was enough to qualify him for sainthood, although he reportedly performed other miracles as well. To visit his relics which are kept in the crypt below the nave, you have to climb down into this hole....
Yes, it was very dark and no, there wasn't a light to turn on. So, I very carefully navigated the stone stairs hoping there would be some light at the end of the tunnel. There was actually a ground level window once I was in the crypt which gave me enough light to photograph the saint standing on top of his elevated reliquary...
St. Namphaise apparently heals epileptics. His large reliquary is elevated with enough room for a person to crawl underneath. Supposedly, touching your shoulders to the bottom of the reliquary increases the possibility of a cure. Much as I love a good adventure, I did draw the line at crawling around on my hands and knees and slithering under a musty old box in the dark. Besides, I'm not epileptic!

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