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Monday Musing

Each day is remarkably like the one before it, and the one after it. Rising bell rings at 5:15am, loud dinging and donging, reminiscent of something from convent in the The Sound of Music. Lauds starts at 5:50am,  with the words that begin the day; “Lord open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

6:50 is Terce, followed by mass at 7am. Sext is at noon, the midday meal follows, with our major meal of the day coming out at about 12:20. None at 3pm, Vespers and rosary at 4:40, a light supper at 6:15. The day rounds out with Compline and Office of Readings at 8pm.  Then, the Great Silence – until the next day at 5:50am.

Such is life at the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace, in N. Guilford, Connecticut.

The days blend together, but not in a blur. One loses a sense of what day it is, guided by bells, prayer, nature and rhythms of life. With no television, no radio, no internet to distract me, I drift off. Sleeping and waking, bells, prayer and walks.

There is some talking – I converse with other retreatants at mealtime. There was one person the first day, then I was on my own for the weekend, which was selfishly wonderful. On Monday someone new came – a lovely woman. On Tuesday, a real treat, a friend from the monastery from 17 years ago reappears! Providence and grace!

There were two conversations with sisters, who do try to keep silence. Sister Mary Ann, the prioress, is someone who has had a profound influence on my life and I have not seen her in 17 years. We have a tearful, joyful reunion! I also spent a bit of time with Sister Susan, who I used to visit with periodically.

Seven days of peace and bliss in a timeless place.

It is most interesting to see what happens when you spend a week in relative silence. It changes everything. While I can’t always get away for a week of it, it was an overdue retreat, so a week was necessary.

Do you feel like you have silence in your life? Do you feel like you need silence?

While I love to talk about silence, I have not done a good job of nurturing it in my life. The retreat was a big help and I hope to maintain more quiet in my life – which is time spent with God.

Here is how Night Prayer, or Compline would end each night, with the Domincan Salve Maria and another Dominican chant, O Lumen Ecclesiae, which is a prayer for St. Dominic.

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One Response

  1. This sounds like a beautiful retreat, Fran. One of those times so important to recharge one’s batteries and focus once again on what truly matters 🙂

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