Cathedral from Trash: What We Can Learn from a 90+ Year Old

Justo Gallego was born in Mejorada del Campo on September 20, 1925. He has devoted the last 55+ years of his life to building a cathedral from recycled materials on family land, and is still going strong. Be amazed by watching the documentary, The Madman and the Cathedral. Justo had a life-changing event that resulted in a belief, a purpose, and a vision. With his own hands he is bringing to life something truly astounding that is permanently etched in the memories of all who experience it.

The Cathedral of Nuestra SeƱora del Pilar in the town of Mejorada del Campo

From where do we as educators and designers get our conviction that we can be a part of crafting life-changing events? Why do we believe that there are creative and effective ways to set the stage for learning experiences that can measurably change behaviors?

I entered a cathedral in Europe for the first time at the age of 10 and gasped in utter astonishment at the magnitude of space, craftsmanship, and sacred silence. Climbing steadily upward to reach the magnificent city views with gargoyles at my side, life as I knew it changed. The desire was born to spend my life helping others experience things that would change them too, in positive, fulfilling ways.

I remain awed by the many pieces of a process that took centuries and immense talent to complete, and the beauty of each tiny, meticulous step that resulted in such glorious achievement.

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