Background behind the setting up of Colomba le Roc

Some years ago we, Ian and Joanne Evans-Boiten, decided we wanted to share our home with others and turn it into a place of hospitality and sanctuary where all are welcome, and where daily life is inspired by the Christian faith.

cave Believing that the outdoors are an important element of a retreat, we thought a place with a high sunshine-average would be preferable. And so we chose the South West of France, but not just anywhere in the Midi-Pyrenees; our chosen place would have to be close to the Camino or “Chemin” as they say here. Because pilgrimage is another way to meet with God through his creation and of course through the people you meet on your journey.

sculpture Joanne, the chaplain, was born and grew up in the Netherlands. Hers is a rather international background with years spent in France, Norway, (former) Yugoslavia and Russia but it was in Scotland that she met Ian and studied Theology to become a fully ordained minister of the Church of Scotland. True to her own roots Colomba le Roc is Ecumenical in outlook and the liturgy is inspired by the Celtic tradition.

Ian, a member of the SLA (Scottish Letter Cutters’ Association), was born in England but after years in London found his way to Scotland where he was first trained as a stone mason. Ian creates sculptures in stone but more recently he turned his interest to wood. Ian’s work is predominantly inspired by his faith. All the pieces on this website are by him.

We have 5 children who now all have left home and since 2018 two lovely grandchildren. We also have two dogs and look after our youngest daughter’s cat.

                                        What's in a name?


Saint Columba, (521 – 9 June 597) whose Gaelic name Columcille means “church dove”, was an Irish missionary who arrived with 12 other monks on Iona from where he spread the Gospel to Scotland and Northern England . His monastery on Iona became an exceptional place of learning famous as far as continental Europe.

dove The dove, is often used to depict the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22). Not surprisingly you often see it represented in stained glass windows but also in communion tables, pulpits and fonts.

However the dove is also, and probably more universally, known as the symbol for peace.

building on rock  


The rock : This region is called the Quercy blanc because of its limestone rock. And Colomba le Roc is literally built on the rock. But it was also on the rock that the wise man built his house in one of the parables Jesus told his disciples (Mat 7:24-27)


And so the name “Colomba le Roc” not only points to the Scottish Celtic Christian tradition, but it also reminds us that the Holy Spirit guides us, that Jesus Christ through his life and ministry, is the rock on which we build and that peace, God’s shalom, is what we pray and aim for in life.

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