The Seminary of Rachol
This morning we left Elizabeth to finish the core unit with the students, while Father Loiola, Ruthie, Christopher, Sebastian and I piled in the car to go down south to the Seminary of Rachol. It took over an hour which passed quickly as we soaked in the ever bright green paddy fields, the portuguese style dwellings, the ever present myriad of birds not to mention the odd pig and monkey.
Rachol is the biggest and most renowned seminary in Goa, once surrounded by a moat with its front gate still standing. As we entered we could feel presence and imposing importance of the past, it had 700 Seminarists at one time, today it has 93 Seminarists.
We saw the most exquisite small murals depicting hell, purgatory, heaven and hell as well as the portrait of two Saints in the entrance hall, in bad need of restoration but thankfully untouched. As we proceeded the visit we saw painting after painting disintegrating, murals fading, several altars covered in grime but thankfully they all seemed to have had little aggressive restoration. It is a mammoth task but next week on Friday the students and I will go to test clean a few small areas to see if the Rector would like to proceed with an initial project of conservation by the students (only dirt surface removed and consolidation) of a few pieces. Ruthie will hopefully come next year to start the conservation of the murals.
We returned to the Archbishop’s House in time for lunch which is lovingly prepared by the nuns – rice, goan curry, vegetables, fish and fruit. Milena brought us some delicious coconut in syrup with raisins and nuts, Manu fantastic prawn croquettes and so we eat discussing paintings, food, birds,deadlines, exotic fruits but not the weather.
We are now all completely focused on finishing 6 paintings and conserving 4 more. We have at least 9 statues of various sizes almost finished. 2 gilded ornament one from Rachol and one from Father Mansueto to surface clean. The estimate and the projects to complete. I have to say that with Elizabeth, Ruthie and Zuraida guiding them we are hopeful and upbeat.
No time for a joke today but later we will post photographs including a bird we saw last night.