Return to Jafre, Catalonia
Field by 'Font Santa'. Jafre
When I say return to Jafre, Catalonia ....
When I visited Jafre, in Catalonia (Catalunya), in the summer of 2010, it wasn't really a 'return' ~ not in the way that most people would understand the term, anyway.
I imagine that one could call it 'an intellectual return'.
In the early 1980s, while I was reading 'history' at university, I was able to indulge my passion for Spain's fascinating past.
For my dissertation, I looked at a collection of 'miraculous visions' ~ including one at the Catalan town of Jafre ~ recorded in Medieval and Early modern Spain, and translated by historian, linguist and expert in Spanish apparitions, William A Christian, jnr.
Most of those apparitions were of the Virgin Mary, but, along with the Marian apparitions, were some of other saints ~ plus this one, of a mysterious passing traveller.
Thank you, Mr Christian!
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If you would like to see where the Catalan town of Jafre is situated, in Catalonia, north-east Spain ~ and its distance from the Mediterranean beaches of the Costa Brava, then please look at the map of Catalonia (Catalunya map) at the end of this article.
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There is a link to William A Christian's research at the end of this article.
Jafre. Font Santa. Catalonia. Spain
I Finally Visit Jafre!
Relatively recently, I re-visited my research and I noticed, then, that one of the sites of interest was near to a place that we had visited for holidays on the Costa Brava ~ and, indeed, where we were planning to go again. That was Jafre!
In the summer of 2010, I visited Jafre with my husband, in hope of finding the spring. This hub tells the story of that spring and, at the end of it, you can retrace our visit, in pictures.
Please note that, with the exceptions of the quotes accredited to others, and to the images noted accordingly, the photographs and text are my property.
Copyright Tricia Mason ~ All Rights Reserved
I have spent a few holidays in Spain over the years ~ first with my husband and, later, with our family. I really enjoy our fairly frequent holidays on the Costa Brava (Catalonia), which is where this 'adventure' took place.
(On the mainland, we have also been to Andalusia, Cantabria and the Basque country, and we have visited Ibiza, Majorca and Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
Jafre - Christianity
Catalonia / Catalunya + Costa Brava
Our 2010 Spanish holiday was going to be in two parts ~ the Costa Daurada holiday and the Costa Brava holiday ~ including a stay near Torroella de Montgri.
Torroella is in Catalonia, north-eastern Spain, near the Mediterranean coast ~ on the road to Gerona (Girona). Further along that road is the little old town of Jafre.
The day after we arrived, my husband and I set off to explore this place that I had read about, and studied, about a quarter of a century before. For me, it was really exciting!
On our journey, we noticed some other beautiful old 'towns', near to Jafre and along the road to Gerona, and we decided to explore those, as well.
Girona / Gerona
Jafre is a beautiful little town with ancient roots. As with so many of these little Spanish 'cities', Jafre's architectural history is visible all around.
The settlement centres on the parish church, but, down by the main road, there is another church ~ a little chapel built by an ancient spring. This spring is considered to be sacred and it was the reason for my visit.
It took a while for us to find it and, at first, I thought that I was going to be disappointed, because the chapel was locked. But a small sign indicated that the spring was around the side.We were the only people there. The sun shone, the sky was blue and insects were humming. It was so peaceful!
When we entered the place of the spring, we found ourselves in something like a tiny courtyard. In the corner was a small 'grotto', and, in the grotto, surrounded by Christian imagery, was a natural spring. At one time there had been a cup for pilgrims, and other visitors, to take a drink, but the water is no longer considered fit for human consumption, and this vessel has been removed.
It was a delightful spot, and we were enjoying our visit, but I wanted my husband to know its story. I had it with me ~ printed out ~ and I read it out to him. The story was relatively brief and, to us, did not sound particularly miraculous.
Girona (in 2006) - Where the testimonies were taken
Did the stranger look something like this?
Jafre: 'The spring on the road to Colomés'
Jafre Parish Church in 2010
Jafre - Testimony Regarding the Vision at Jafre - 1461
'On Tuesday, February 10, 1461, the following witness swore and testified in the city of Girona.
Miquel Castelló of the parish of Jafre, a witness summoned and sworn, said that in truth last November he was plowing one of his fields called the field of the woods, in the parish of Jafre, and a man of medium height came up to him wearing a blue woolen tunic to mid-calf, blue woolen stockings, brown boots, and a blue hat, and carrying a pole about eight palms long. In the judgment of this witness the man was twenty to twenty-three years old, without a trace of a beard.
When he was near he asked the witness his name, and the witness replied that he was Miquel Castelló. Then the man asked him how many crosses there were in the different crossroads of Jafre, and the witness said there was only one. The man then said to him that he should put one on his land if he could, or else at another crossroad.
Then he said to the witness these or similar words: I charge your soul that you tell the people of Jafre that the spring on the road to Colomés that makes a pond should be well enclosed and held in esteem, for its water once had great power. Because people washed their laundry there, they caused it to lose its power, but if they closed it off and respected it, the spring would regain its power.
. ....The man then .. went off toward Colomés along the River Ter. The witness ... does not know who he was.
Subsequently the witness went to the town of Jafre .... The witness went to Mossen Joan Ballester, priest of Jafre, and told him everything .... Ballester repeated it the following Sunday from the pulpit of the Jafre church to the parishioners. ...
Since then the witness has seen many people go there for certain ailments, and according to the witness they are cured. '
This testimony was recorded in February 1461, three months after the reported apparition, which took place on a Friday in November 1460.
The death of a certain baby in Jafre was taken as proof that this was a miraculous vision.
Quotes from the two testimonies mentioning Colomés:
"I charge your soul that you tell the people of Jafre that the spring on the road to Colomés that makes a pond should be well enclosed and held in esteem .."
"... here in the parish of Jafre there is a spring on the road to Colomés that is very effective for many ailments. ..."
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Colomés (Colomers) is one of the Medieval towns that we decided to visit.
The Road to Colomes (Colomers)
Chapel of the 'Font Santa'. Jafre
Chapel of the Sacred Spring
According to the collator and translator of the testimonies, W A Christian, this follow-up to the vision, where confirmation of the initial 'vision' was made, and where various cures were then confirmed, was arranged on the part of the community of Jafre, and was 'part of a village request for permission to build a chapel on the apparition site'.
This must be how the chapel we saw originated!
Medieval Spain: Culture, Conflict and Coexistence
Testimony Regarding Cures at Jafre's Spring - 1461
Personal Testimony from the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre
'Thursday the twelfth day of [February 1461], the following witness declared and swore:
the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre, nobleman (miles), domiciled in the town of Jafre, admonished, sworn, and questioned to say and declare all the truth he knows about the matters below, was asked if he has heard it said that a spring was found in the parish of Jafre, and if it was good for any illnesses, and if the people are devoted to it, or if they go to it to carry any [water] off to cure illnesses.
He declared it was true that here in the parish of Jafre there is a spring on the road to Colomés that is very effective for many ailments.
Three weeks ago on Friday the witness came down with a great illness and pain in the side (dolor de costat), and he was very frightened and was sure he would die and asked for water from the spring to drink. As soon as he was given the water he drank three or fourcups, and he felt his heart very clear ... and by the grace of God was perfectly cured.
Font Santa - Cure Testimony
Testimony regarding Miquel Trobat, from the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre
'... he saw Miquel Trobat of Jafre with so great an infirmity in the neck that he was given up for dead, for his throat was already so swollen that he was choking. They gave him water from the spring to drink, and he quickly improved so that now by God's grace he is all cured and well.
Font Santa - Cure Testimony
TestimonyGaspar Costa of Ullastret, via the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre
'... Gaspar Costa of Ullastret told him that at Monells there were seven persons who had drunk the spring water that the witness sent them. They had the sickness of the side and the neck or shoulder (mal de costat, mal de coll), and all were cured except for an old lady, who died.'
Font Santa - Cure Testimony
Testimony regarding multiple cures, from the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre
'And the witness sees in one day about a hundred people come, and every day there are many people. ..................And the witness has heard ... that almost all who drink it are cured of all ailments.'.
Font Santa - Cure Testimony
Testimony regarding a slave, from the honorable Bernat Guillen of Jafre
'... a slave of En Caramany was sick and given up for dead, and they gave him the water and he was cured, and that Caramany promised .... to help build the chapel of the spring if it is built.'
Don't Drink the Water!! - No longer fit for human consumption.
Related Hub: Spain's History
- Spains Story: From the 9th Century to the 16th Century ~ a Historical Timeline
The history of Spain is a fascinating story. Reminders of the past can be seen throughout the country. 'Spain' was part of a Muslim empire for many years, but, in 1492, she became independent, only to establish an empire of her own, in that same year
Finding Jafre and the Chapel of the Spring
If you would like to find Jafre and the chapel of the sacred spring ('font santa'), on 'Google Maps', then you will need to search for 'Fontsanta, Jafre, Catalonia'.
Once you have found the area, look for the main road: GI - 634. It is quite easy to do. Then look for the side road 'Carrer Fontsanta'. Between that road, and the one marked 'Urbanitzacio Font', you will see the roof of the chapel ~ it is beside a small children's play area. You can even get a 'street view'.
Jafre is about ten miles, or less, from the Costa Brava beaches at L'Estartit. Here one can take a boat trip to the Illes Medes ~ and along the delightful coast.
Fontsanta, Jafre, Catalonia
William A Christian, jnr.
The Grotto in 1911 - As seen in W A Christian's book: Apparitions in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain
'La Font Santa' ~ the sacred spring ~ Jafre, Catalonia, 28th August, 2010.
Our Visit in Pictures
As we drove along the Girona road, past Jafre, we saw the sign for the 'Font Santa'.
We pulled up by an attractive stone building that looked like a chapel
Through the arch was an open foyer, but the chapel was, disappointingly, locked up.
Then we noticed an open doorway and were pleased to see a sign saying 'A la font'.
Around the side of the chapel was a quiet, sun-drenched little courtyard
In the corner of the courtyard was a tiny grotto
And in the grotto was the sacred spring - the font santa!
Though the 'vision' associated with the spring was not connected to Mary, Marian iconography can still be seen.
One can climb steps, up behind and over the grotto, and look over the courtyard and the chapel
View of the chapel from the top of the steps.
A final view of the grotto, as we walked back to the shade of the chapel foyer.
Through a window, one can just about see into the chapel from the foyer.
When one leaves, one exits via the chapel foyer's arch.
The outside of the chapel building - from the front
The view from the chapel's arch.
The outside of the chapel building from the side.
Steps to the left of the chapel, in the Carrer de la Font Santa
Carrer de la Font Santa ~ the road alongside the little chapel and spring complex.
Colomes or Colomers
Colomes (Colomers). Catalonia. Spain.
Photos of the church square
Church of Saint Mary. Colomes (Colomers). Catalonia. Spain.
Church of Santa Maria. Colomes (Colomers). Catalonia. Spain.
Colomes (Colomers). Catalonia. Spain.
Colomes (Colomers). Catalonia. Spain
Girona - Catalonia
Link to W A Christian's Research
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For a hub on a beautiful set of relevant guide books: