Bolivian monastery accepts four-legged friar
- 8 March 2017
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
When Bolivian monasteries accept new members, they do not usually cause an online sensation.
But Friar Carmelo, nicknamed Friar Moustache, is unlike any resident the Franciscan monastery of Cochabamba has seen before.
For a start, he has four legs.
Friar Carmelo is a schnauzer. A small dog adopted by the monks four months ago, he was photographed roaming the cloisters dressed in a traditional habit.
Since then the images, taken by a visitor, have been shared thousands of times.
"Sometimes we brothers have a laugh among ourselves and there is a brother here that is also called Carmelo, who has a moustache, so that was sort of the inspiration [behind his name]," one of the friars told local television channel ATB.
They decided to extend the joke by dressing him up.
"We had some puppets in the church that we used to amuse children, and one of puppets was wearing a habit, so we thought we'd use it," said the friar.
However, the friars have stressed that dressing up animals is not a common monastic practice and they are not making it a daily routine, after being inundated with calls and requests for visits.
Friar Carmelo remains a much-loved resident, although the friars have described him as having a naughty streak.
He is known to bite everything and hide things in the garden, but he has also quickly become a loyal companion to the monastery's residents, who say he has brought them lots of joy.
You might also like:
- 'Cash' the dog sniffs out 286,000 euros
- Pregnant woman's April-the-giraffe spoof
- Clingy panda racks up 163m hits online
Saint Francis was known as the patron saint of animals, so a Franciscan monastery would be a good place for a furry friar to act out his orders.
Friars typically take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In Friar Carmelo's case, the last one would take a bit more work.