Benedictine Convent of St John in Müstair
Elke Larcher, director of the museum of the Convent of St. John in Müstair:
How did you get to Müstair?
I have been living and working in the easternmost tip of Switzerland for nine years. With the monastery I have found a place that could not be deeper, richer and more powerful. My work here is just a breath of the eventful history of the monastery, which has lasted over 1200 years. Here I have learned a lot about archaeology and history of arts, but above all I have learned to know more about the Rule of St. Benedict and the immense possibilities that this small and compact booklet offers us outside the monastery walls. Still today eleven nuns live here according to the regulated Benedictine rhythm of "ora et labora et lege".
What's your favorite place? Can you tell us some secrets?
Mostly I sit in my office. But I like to go to the cemetery lovingly laid out with the big linden tree, then to the church and enjoy this place of power in silence or listening to the nuns' prayer. Sometimes I also write a thank you, a request or a thought on a sheet of paper lovingly decorated with a paper rose in the Chapel of Grace and hang it on the votive wall. I know that Sister Aloisia will take it down and all these thoughts that are packed here on this wall will be brought to prayer by the sisters. Or I go to the museum of the Romanesque Madonna, a sculpture from the 13th century: the Mother sits there quietly and with dignity, her child on her lap.
What activities do you recommend on this site?
I advise all those who come to Val Müstair to take their time. Already the journey through the National Park and the Biosphere is an experience. Enjoy a visit to the Convent of St. John, listen to the prayers at the nuns' time, open up to history and art. Add a walk around the monastery, the day will be rewarding and inner peace will spread in your heart and soul. And suddenly you feel like you have recharged your batteries! I wish you all this profound experience!
March 2016 (translated from German)