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A Traveler’s Happenstance Journey – Story of the Monks and Monastery of the Humilitarians not Humanitarians
© Donald Reinhardt, May 27, 2013
Monastery of the Passionists in Argentina. Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Ceppicone
This is an original story of mine which I once told only orally a few years ago. This is a different and somewhat unusual tale. I share it now, once and for all, so that all may know, who want or care to know of this unique journey and monastery.

The Traveler, His Journey and Adventure and the Isolated Monastery

There was a certain traveler who wandered exclusively by foot to many places far and near. Some say he journeyed at least 10,000 miles, others say it was perhaps a 100,000, 200,000 miles or even more. The exact amount of miles matters not I think, since all who knew him agreed that he covered many, many miles of our diverse planet earth. People also believed he had seen almost everything worth seeing.

The tale continues that one day this same traveler was tired, so very tired, for he had been hiking for untold days in isolated, strange and unfamiliar mountainous areas. It was getting late. He was worn out, hungry, thirsty. He ached and he  was somewhat downcast. He stopped briefly to rest beside a narrow, steep mountain incline and path. He sat against the trunk of a sturdy, gnarly, pine tree which grew beside the path and hung tenaciously over the valley deep below.
Soon a chilling breeze stirred and blew the descending evening mist into spiral-like patterns which rose and fell slowly to the breath of nature. Daylight was almost gone, evening was rapidly descending. The traveler prayed. He asked for a simple and safe place to rest awhile peacefully. He arose, buttoned his flannel shirt, raised the collar to shield his neck and started back up the narrow, barely visible path which wound and coiled like a gray snake ahead of him.
Within just a few minutes, to his amazement, he thought he saw a distant dim light. His heart skipped a beat and then picked up strongly and vigorously as he gazed ahead. He blinked and opened his eyes again – the light was really there.
He proceeded forward and quickly along the path. Soon he came upon an enormous monastery which bore outside a very large, ornate wood-carved sign that read: "Welcome All Brothers and Sisters who come here –The Humilitarians of the Hills." He pounded briskly upon the large, thick, wooden, castle-like door. Within about what seemed like just a few seconds he was greeted by a cheerful monk who was robed in simple garments. The smiling, round-faced, middle-aged man placed his lantern on the ground, laughed, extended his arms and embraced the traveler. "Welcome, welcome, welcome, dear friend. I am Brother John. Please, please, please come in and join us" he said as he hugged the weary one and pounded him briskly on the back.

The traveler soon was seated at a long table with dozens of monks who engaged him with question after question about his travels and wanderings around these parts and other places far beyond. They treated him like a long-lost friend or, at the very least, as a new-found earthly brother. They inquired of all his journeys and ventures and this went on for over an hour as they dined over the sumptuous, yet simple and varied food. Warm wine flowed into tankards and honey-sweetened tea was there for all to drink.

The Traveler, the Question and the Answer from the Monks at the Monastery

Suddenly, the traveler held up his right hand, almost as trying to reach the heavens. Suddenly, too, everyone stopped talking and the dining room lapsed into absolute silence for what seemed like more than just a brief moment. The traveler spoke, "My good brother monks, I thank you all for this deep, heartfelt, congenial and very meaningful meeting and all your hospitality and the joy we have this evening together – the food and drink satisfies and warms my body almost as much as does the heat from your beautiful and radiant fireplace. However, I must ask, if I may, who are you? I know the sign says Humilitarians. I have never heard of such before. Tell me your story."
Within a mere second or two, there was a loud burst of laughter and cheers. Each monk rose, toasted one another, clanked their tankards to the brother monks beside them. They toasted their traveler and guest and then each monk, standing tall and straight from the smallest to the biggest, all smiled at their traveler friend, raised their tankards and cheered joyfully.

Brother John, the greeter at the monastery door, arose and almost immediately the rest of the monks sat down in unison. Brother John smiled and his eyes twinkled as he gazed upwards  and scanned the thick stone walls, the sculptures, symbols and signs, the beautiful stained glass windows and the very cross itself. Then. looking around at all gathered, Brother John addressed the traveler and spoke as he extended his arms outward toward all the monk brothers who now sat there that night, “Who are we, you ask? That is a good question my friend and we are glad to answer your simple question. Yes, we are the Humilitarians as you now know us and see us. Most people misread what they see and think it reads the Humanitarians ( several of the monks smiled, some shook their heads in agreement and some sat stoically, as Brother John pointed out that common mistake). We are that indeed, but we are more than that.” “You see,” he continued, “most people know of the Jesuits who are noted for their missionary and scholarly work, the Benedictines for their obedience, the Franciscans for their charity and outreach and the Trappists for their silence, meditation and contemplation. We are the the Humilitarians, yes the Humilitarians, dear brother, each and every one of us who are here, we are known for and have a great sense of joy, a very deep and real sense of that joy, in our humility.” And at that very moment, almost as if on cue, yes at that very moment, all the monks who had been seated while Brother John spoke, they all arose once again, cheered loudly, laughed heartily, embraced one another and then the stranger, and sang praises to one other and their order of monks.

That evening the traveler, although quite tired, did not sleep so well. In fact, it was a fitful night for him in some ways. He awoke at dawn, dressed and prepared for his continued journey. He had a good breakfast and there was great and hearty fellowship in that dining hall.
Soon the traveler was on his way on the path away from that holy place. He stopped, turned and looked toward the monastery, now framed in the light of the rising morning sun. He wondered even more who all those Humilitarians really were. Where had they all come from? Who else had ever known and discovered these monks? Who founded this monastery and what was at founder like? But, there was no time now to go back. The journey ahead called the traveler forward and onward. He turned to the path around and continued on.
The traveler promised he would tell others the story you now hear and know. He told me that story – his traveler's story – and I am telling that tale now.
If you ever come across the Humilitarians, please let me know, for I too would like to visit and see them one day and ask them some questions.