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Returning Home: Part III – Sagrada Familia


By Poniol60 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I have updated some of the photos, enjoy!

This is the celestial structure that started it all.  I was watching 60 Minutes a few weeks ago when a feature was airing about the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. I sat glued to the tube utterly transfixed as I learned about the history of this ever evolving Gothic masterpiece. As I watched the show, the idea of doing a series on coming home began to take shape ( albeit a bit faster than the construction of the Basilica.) I simply had not seen anything quite like it and became instantly enchanted.


According to Wikipedia , The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família , commonly known as the Sagrada Família (Catalan pronunciation: [səˈɣɾaðə fəˈmiɫiə]), is a large Roman Catholic church in BarcelonaCataloniaSpain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 was consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.  Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.


Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026—the centennial of Gaudí’s death.


The basílica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona—over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona’s cathedral, over Gaudí’s design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí’s death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain’s high-speed train could disturb its stability.


It is incredibly challenging for me to articulate why the Sagrada Familia holds such a fascination for me. Part of the allure is the sheer commitment to a vision that eclipsed the life of its creator.  Another factor is the romance implicated by its history: that the division among the people of Barcelona about its fate, coupled with the Spanish Civil War, were unable to crush Gaudi’s dream. This plays out better than most romance novels!


Or could it be the kaleidoscopic impression created by the roof?

Something this extraordinary cannot be reduced to mere adjectives. What matters is how we use our senses and our hearts to help us rediscover our real nature.  It is often said that great works of art are divinely inspired.  The person who composes the symphony or paints the masterpiece is really uncovering an idea planted deep within the soul. If this is a defining feature of the creative process, then wouldn’t the lushness of each note or the texture of each brush stroke be a testament to the magnificence within us all?

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related post:

all images below courtesy of

Poniol60 By Poniol60 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (]


Arnaud Gaillard (arnaud ()

Brianza2008 , public domain

Julien Lagarde

21 comments on “Returning Home: Part III – Sagrada Familia

  1. shreejacob says:

    The pictures are so beautiful…especially the very first one of the stained glass window and the one of the ceiling!! The design on the outside looks so intricate!!! I guess like any masterpiece, this one reminds us that we are also works in progress!!


    1. great metaphor Shree, we are indeed! We are also intricate masterpieces 🙂


  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I relish the experiences I have where my knack for words falls short and the awe takes over…..


  3. TamrahJo says:

    No true words for the wonderfulness of this post – and I think of how often, our language is inadequate for such great masterpieces of beauty and the wonder they inspire within us –
    But I had to comment and try, anyways…


  4. Crow & Valentine says:

    This is incredible.


    1. Thank you for visiting my blog! I agree that this cathedral and its journey towards completion is epic. Glad you enjoyed the visual feast 🙂


  5. Her Locket says:

    Truly truly beautiful!


    1. thank you for your kind words, linda


  6. One day I shall go there. Shame really because it is not very far. It is spectacular architecture, no doubt.


    1. If I could take a pleasant train ride to Barcelona, I would go tomorrow.


  7. Connie Lezenby says:

    Gaudi and this cathedral are the reason I became an architect.


    1. I think I can understand why 🙂


  8. you are welcome

    I feature some of the Sistine Chapel on my post here:

    Being there in person was spectacular 🙂


  9. reminds me of Michelangelo’s work at the Cistine Chapel – i agree all great works are inspired by the soul when are in alignment with it.
    Magnificent thanks.


  10. Shooken says:

    wow! I do love cathedrals! Very nice!! 🙂


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