St. Wendelin – The Wanderer

Walking to the St. Wendel Christmas Market
The crowd is growing

Six of the past ten years, I have spent the fall in Germany.  One of the treats of being in Germany at this time of year is the opportunity to visit a few of the many Christmas markets that dot the German landscape usually around the beginning of December.  This year was no different as my colleague Dan and I wandered over to St. Wendel to visit a Christmas market that I had heard great things about, but had never visited. The St. Wendel market is only open for two weeks and this weekend marked the second weekend…it either was now or who knows when, if ever.

I have come to appreciate that each Christmas market takes on its own personality.  Some are filled with glitz and glamour, some are strongly children oriented, some are very food oriented, some are more craftsy and some are more filled with the sounds of music and people.  Almost as soon as we parked the car and began the walk to the market, I felt a strong sense of a community of common, every day, hard-working people.  Do you know what I mean?  People who work hard from day to day with no guarantees.  People who may not have a wealth of tangible resources, but are steeped in intrinsic values.  These are people who not only know and understand what it is like to walk a mile in their neighbor’s shoes, but walk that mile themselves in their own shoes.  I know these kind of people.  I grew up with these kind of people.  Growing up with these kind of people, I learned about respect, kindness, manners, caring and empathy…all values I try to use every day in my work.  I thank the Good Lord every day for my life and how I was raised, and what I experienced.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The last ten years, I have wandered over many places in this world, but I am not lost.  I wonder if I have seen the opposite along the way…

Anyway, back to St. Wendel.  The market had the usual booths with their Christmas ornaments, chocolate, candles and the such, but what was clearly evident in ways I had not seen at other markets were the families, the personal interactions and the kindness.  Vendors and customers alike were open to talking and laughing and sharing their stories.  It seemed to be a celebration of making it through another year more than a market for selling traditional foods and Christmas gifts.  

Sculpture of St. Wendel

Admiring the sculpture of St. Wendel located appropriately in an elevated garden area behind the beautiful gothic St. Wendel church.  Wendelin of Trier was the son of a Scottish king who at an early age made a pilgrimage to Rome unbeknownst to anyone in his family.  On his way back, he settled in the area near Trier where he assumed a hermit lifestyle.  His name, Wendelin, means wanderer.  He eventually became a herder for a local landowner.  After performing what was considered a miracle, he was given his own living quarters and land and established a benedictine abbey.  The gothic church was built over his burial site near the town of St. Wendel.  He is known as the patron saint of country people and herdsmen.  Another example of the statement that, all who wander are not lost.  After reading his story, it amazed me that centuries later, the values of this unique man seemed to permeate in the local people, even to this day.  

As I sit here this morning looking out over a fresh blanket of snow, I am grateful for my trip to the St. Wendel Christmas market and I can’t help but believe a little more deeply that all who wander are not lost and all who wonder can be found.

Until next time…

Merry Christmas everyone!

11 thoughts on “St. Wendelin – The Wanderer

  1. I don’t think you are lost either although I was reminded of a time you came to pick me up in Bad Windsheim and engendered the dismay of the locals as you drove the wrong direction down a one way street. We went on to eat a memorable meal at the the Wildbad in a serene setting in the middle of the forest.
    It does occur to me as I navigate my way through my senior years that the adage, sometimes you run the fastest when you are lost, continues to hold true.
    Happy Holidays dear friend.
    The Tundra Swans have returned. The lake is mostly frozen. Must be winter here at home.

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  2. Hey Brother: Thanks for the memory down St Wendl Lane. Glad to see the wise men and the camels back for another year. Didn’t see the Unicorn, though. These “outta’ the way” markets are simply the best! So glad you got the chance to see this one…and I, too wish you a Merry Christmas and Rewarding New Year.
    Best, Monty

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