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    ALL OF MY WORKS ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT LAWS.  DO NOT USE WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT CONTACT: joseferreiraphoto@gmail.com Photo: José Ferreira(www… Read More
    ALL OF MY WORKS ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT LAWS.  DO NOT USE WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT CONTACT: joseferreiraphoto@gmail.com Photo: José Ferreira(www.joseferreira-photographer.com) Text: Nuno Silva In the hands of God The gates that receive us seem to hide a secret. To cross them is to pass the breaking point between our world and a space of voluntary reclusion, only accessible to men of faith. Everything there is sacred. As if the path made of stone and gravel, crossing through the mountain ranges of ancient Portugal, intentionally anticipated the spiritual isolation, in an intimate scene, worthy of the best postcards. The few, very few, who like myself, have had the privilege of knowing it inside, are at first invaded by an overwhelming feeling: the space and its ambience absorb us, immediately taking our spirits to a higher state, of deep reflection. Here, the walls are painted of echoes. The sound of footsteps, my own, gives voice to the discomfort of the foreign body producing it by walking on an immaculate wooden floor. The truth is that simplicity is slowly gaining on us; our perception of space and time becomes more and more narrow: as if plainness grabbed us by the collar, demanding respect. Singeverga Monastery is home for 21 Benedictine monks. Physical and spiritual reclusion is interrupted only by the activities that form their quotidian. However, simplicity and practicality are in constant symbiosis and don’t intend to weaken the true reason for their presence here. All here is natural. From bird breeding to agriculture, gardening and production of liquor, to the meticulous cleaning of every space, as well as reading as a form of meditation – all of these are daily complements to their manifestations of devotion. As if, at some point, light smiled upon them; as if reducing all the excesses of modern civilization were a reflex of spiritual superiority – and yet, denying it is impossible. Every day, before the sun touches the ground, the bell sound cuts through the landscape reminding us that another religious ceremony is about to begin. Slowly, we watch them gather in spaces made for prayer. There are moments of reunion and contact, dressed in long habits and silent expressions. Yet, here, these silences tell us more than any words. Once a day comes the time they call leisure: 1 hour after lunch, they join in a conversation that, even though breaks the usual silence, doesn’t disrespect the lines of cordiality and respect in which the Monastery is drawn. It is difficult to understand the reasons behind a choice as this. A choice that forever commits them to surrender and places them in the hands of God. Nevertheless, to understand them is an exercise almost as natural as it is mandatory. What at first strikes us as a shock between two realities, in a duel between what one is and what one learns there, slowly fades into details that mesmerize us. The silent expressions, as constant as their beliefs, are occasionally met by manifestations of proximity, between me and those who live there. In the end, their closure is mitigated by the boundaries of faith. These boundaries go beyond the naked walls of the cloister. These boundaries are set on the strength of devotion and find refuge in the core of each Benedictine monk. And even though I am a foreign in these passages, I feel that little by little they seem to embrace my presence, with the same intensity I also let myself be overrun by the profound respect and consideration I feel for each of these 21 good men. A life of devotion and muteness. This could merely be a dry emptiness in a garden of silences, but it is so much more than that. One needs to know it. One needs to witness the quiet, the tranquility and the reflection. One needs to respect the privacy and the choice. One needs to be a little more “them” and less oneself. At some point this becomes almost a requirement. To know of its existence, and to witness it, is to ensure, with greater spontaneity, the mitigation of our modern excesses. As if the values there touched our skin and made us much more human. It takes time, but we get there. Divided between pleasure and privilege, these photos celebrate respect. In honor of the 21 men who tattooed my life: In the hands of God, Read Less
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ALL OF MY WORKS ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT LAWS. 
DO NOT USE WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT CONTACT:

joseferreiraphoto@gmail.com


Photo: José Ferreira(www.joseferreira-photographer.com)
Text: Nuno Silva

In the hands of God
The gates that receive us seem to hide a secret. To cross them is to pass the breaking point between our world and a space of voluntary reclusion, only accessible to men of faith.
Everything there is sacred. As if the path made of stone and gravel, crossing through the mountain ranges of ancient Portugal, intentionally anticipated the spiritual isolation, in an intimate scene, worthy of the best postcards.
The few, very few, who like myself, have had the privilege of knowing it inside, are at first invaded by an overwhelming feeling: the space and its ambience absorb us, immediately taking our spirits to a higher state, of deep reflection.
Here, the walls are painted of echoes. The sound of footsteps, my own, gives voice to the discomfort of the foreign body producing it by walking on an immaculate wooden floor. The truth is that simplicity is slowly gaining on us; our perception of space and time becomes more and more narrow: as if plainness grabbed us by the collar, demanding respect.
Singeverga Monastery is home for 21 Benedictine monks. Physical and spiritual reclusion is interrupted only by the activities that form their quotidian. However, simplicity and practicality are in constant symbiosis and don’t intend to weaken the true reason for their presence here.
All here is natural. From bird breeding to agriculture, gardening and production of liquor, to the meticulous cleaning of every space, as well as reading as a form of meditation – all of these are daily complements to their manifestations of devotion. As if, at some point, light smiled upon them; as if reducing all the excesses of modern civilization were a reflex of spiritual superiority – and yet, denying it is impossible.
Every day, before the sun touches the ground, the bell sound cuts through the landscape reminding us that another religious ceremony is about to begin. Slowly, we watch them gather in spaces made for prayer. There are moments of reunion and contact, dressed in long habits and silent expressions. Yet, here, these silences tell us more than any words.
Once a day comes the time they call leisure: 1 hour after lunch, they join in a conversation that, even though breaks the usual silence, doesn’t disrespect the lines of cordiality and respect in which the Monastery is drawn.
It is difficult to understand the reasons behind a choice as this. A choice that forever commits them to surrender and places them in the hands of God. Nevertheless, to understand them is an exercise almost as natural as it is mandatory. What at first strikes us as a shock between two realities, in a duel between what one is and what one learns there, slowly fades into details that mesmerize us. The silent expressions, as constant as their beliefs, are occasionally met by manifestations of proximity, between me and those who live there. In the end, their closure is mitigated by the boundaries of faith. These boundaries go beyond the naked walls of the cloister. These boundaries are set on the strength of devotion and find refuge in the core of each Benedictine monk. And even though I am a foreign in these passages, I feel that little by little they seem to embrace my presence, with the same intensity I also let myself be overrun by the profound respect and consideration I feel for each of these 21 good men.
A life of devotion and muteness. This could merely be a dry emptiness in a garden of silences, but it is so much more than that. One needs to know it. One needs to witness the quiet, the tranquility and the reflection. One needs to respect the privacy and the choice. One needs to be a little more “them” and less oneself. At some point this becomes almost a requirement. To know of its existence, and to witness it, is to ensure, with greater spontaneity, the mitigation of our modern excesses. As if the values there touched our skin and made us much more human. It takes time, but we get there.
Divided between pleasure and privilege, these photos celebrate respect. In honor of the 21 men who tattooed my life:
In the hands of God,