It’s been a few weeks now since i updated and lots has been happening so i thought a few short posts might be better than a humungous one that would put you all to sleep – though this might anyway and if it does sleep well!!!
Holy Week began with the Palm Sunday procession from the work room into the Chapel, carrying our palms and singing. Then over the next few days we finished the spring cleaning, so we had lots of ‘togetherness’, communal quiet and midmorning cuppa. The house was sparkling and fragrant and i had a sense of a job well done. I finished the laundry super quick leaving it clean and tidy too and shut up shop until after Easter – or so i thought!
On Tuesday Abbot David came from Oulton to hear confessions and gave us a Holy Hour with Benediction. He and Mother Abbess took turns reading from the gospels and Isaiah, each part being followed by prayers with responses. It was very deep and beautiful and a great way to prepare for the triduum.
The triduum began and our mood changed – there was a new quietness, a feeling of peace almost like a gentle sigh as we went into the deepest, most prayerful time of Lent. The Mandatum was solemn and very touching as Mother Abbess went around the refectory washing our feet and we sang. psalms and the Ubi Caritas – where charity and love are there is God..its hard to convey this, i can only say how powerful it is on a deep level…
Over the day the chapel steadily became bare,until it was stripped naked. Strangely in the chapels nakedness, Christ seemed to be more present, somehow more visible when the frills were removed – even with the tabernacle door open and so painfully empty. We processed to the Altar of Repose in our Chapter room and began the Watch. The Watch was one of the highlights for me. I have been at a Watch many times before but this year it took on new meaning as a new novice here. We had all filled in our names beside a time slot to ensure there was always someone there, but in the end it wasn’t needed. Although there was only one name there to start the whole community quietly came in at different times, sitting on the floor, on prayer stools, on chairs and on chapter seats. Silently we made room for each other, silently we watched, gazing in adoration at our Lord, giving our support…silently sisters came and went, gently flowing, gently loving him together… silently watching with all who watched and prayed, with all who loved, who died, who were in pain…
On Good Friday, i was one of the taperers at the Veneration of the Cross and actually held it for people to venerate (our chaplain being unable to), this too was very beautiful.
On Holy Saturday the mood changed. We are not and can never really be like the first apostles in that we can never really go into the depths that they did on that first Saturday – because we know our Lord rose again, whereas they didn’t. Here the mood was actually creeping upwards, we are an Easter people and we were looking forward.
On Saturday a few of us created an Easter garden. It has not been the tradition here but a few weeks ago i asked if i could make one, was given the go-ahead so did. I have to say that it was fun and little crazy. As i had asked at the last minute there was no real preparation so it was a bit of a ‘Blue Peter’ job – take a few ordinary household items, use your imagination and voila – a unique version of an Easter garden – picture to follow. I had also opened up the laundry for one day only as a few habits needed a desperate wash – mine included. Fortunately it was a sunny, windy day so it was washed, ironed and back on for midday office.
On that note, this post must end, i am now praying that we are on line and i am not going to lose the whole thing. Will write more later. Pax