Building a cathedral by hand

For 53 years, Justo Gallego has been building a cathedral by hand on the outskirts of Madrid almost entirely by himself. Gallego has no formal architecture or construction training, but that hasn’t stopped him from toiling on this herculean task. At 90 years old, Gallego knows that he will not be able to finish the project in his lifetime. But he keeps at it anyway, day after day, driven by his faith.

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2 Responses to Building a cathedral by hand

  1. Simon says:

    I just can’t find the words to respond to this…….Wow!

  2. kathleen says:

    This is such an amazing story! I hadn’t heard about it before because, as far as I know, it has had no repercussions in the MSM in Spain.

    Apparently Justo Gallego had wanted to be a Trappist monk but when still a seminarian he contracted tuberculosis and was expelled after he’d been in the monastery for eight years. The author of this article in the NCRegister says:
    “those who embrace consecrated religious life pursue God to the exclusion of many things in life. The monastery rejected Justo, but he has lived his life with monastic zeal and ardor.”
    And a bit later on:
    “A cathedral points to heaven, and the meaning of a life of faith can only be understood in view of the hope of heaven.”

    Finally he quotes some profoundly meaningful words from a Facebook friend:

    “An act like this is beautiful in its apparent irrationality, in its defiance of all conventional logic. It is a work of spectacular, breathtaking madness. But, at some point, true love always demands some level of madness, a rejection of simple cost-benefit analysis and our innate survival instinct.

    This cathedral is an act of ardor. How could it be anything else? The sheer discipline and patience this must have demanded! And the humility! To devote your life to something that you’ll never see completed, and to accept it with such graciousness, is unfathomable to me.

    Of all the glorious cathedrals in all of the magnificent world, this may be the greatest.”

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