Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path. ~ Philip Sweet
Many people never reach the clarity of mind to find their sole purpose in life. However, Justo Gallego Martinez found that purpose at the age of 38. And that purpose was to build a cathedral. And to create the cathedral by himself.
After working as a farmer, he felt God’s calling to join the Trappist monks in Spain. Unfortunately, after contracting tuberculosis, Justo was asked to leave the monastery. A strong devout, he offered his life to build on his family’s farmland a cathedral as an offering to God.
"I am not an architect or a stonemason. I have never had any training in the building profession. My basic education was interrupted by the Civil War. I was inspired by books about cathedrals, castles and other religious buildings and they gave birth to my own work. But my principle source of illumination and inspiration has always been the Word of Christ." ~ Martinez
Despite fifty years of skepticism, Don Justo, now 93 years old, has kept to his word and his faith. The cathedral now stands 131 ft high and includes a series of huge domes, a crypt, intricate staircases, stained glass windows covering an impressive 24,000 square feet.
I have done it all by myself, mostly using recycled building materials… and there is not a set date for the end of this work.There is still so much to do and I know I won’t be able to finish it in my lifetime. But I will leave it to God to see it through.
The officials have turned a blind eye to the man-made cathedral which has become a tourist attraction for Mejorada del Campo. It has also caught the attention of filmmakers who created a documentary about Don Justo’s journey.
The pictures cannot do justice, so on your trip, visit this visit for your own eyes. Also, watch Great Big Story's piece on Don Justo's cathedra below.