Well, its some time since i last posted but this one is good – at least i think so and hope you will too.
Today was a historical day for us – on the world stage a small insignificant event but to us something special. This is because today the novitiate from Stanbrook Abbey came over to spend some time with us. Now, so what some may say – well, its historical because we think this has not been done ever before. Stanbrook are the descendants of the English nuns at Cambrai – we are the descendants of the foundation they made 28 years later in Paris. The community at Cambrai was living in povery and starving, so some nuns were sent to Paris to begin a daughter house. This means that we share the same ‘mother beginners’ as we all call them and our first Prioress – Dame Bridget More – was sister to Dame Gertrude More who stayed at Cambrai – both direct descendants of St Thomas More.
So, there is the history bit. For the first time since then our novitiates – or noviceships as we call them using the older title – came together. I find this awesome and feel priviledged to have been part of it.
I had a lovely day and I think they did too. They came bearing gifts and left bearing gifts. There was Sister Laurentia – novice mistress; Sister Julian – zelatrix; Sr Therese and Sr Elizabeth – novices and Ruth a new postulant of four and a half weeks as well as Mother Anne – novice mistress here; Sr Davina – our zelatrix and me.
It was so lovely for me – and so strange – being one of three white veils. As we are the same congregation we all wear the same habit and head wear – and Chelsea accepted them very happily as part of the family. Chelsea barks at new people at first – except for those in the Benedictine habit!!!
The day was very informal and made up as we went along. We had a coffee and chatted, midday office, a long walk in our frosty garden – they came prepared with their own wellies – a talk by Sr Benedict who brought out some of our archives ( Augustine Baker instructed the Cambrai nuns before our foundation, then his conferences and instructions were copied out to take to Paris. Cambrai had a hard time in the French revolution and lost a lot of their things whereas we managed to keep much more, and some of these were brought out today).
We finished with tea in the noviceship – Sr Julian tuned a guitar for us and had a play on the noviceship piano ( and an electric organ) which is beautiful and is kept well tuned. I began to learn the guitar some years ago and could pick up the chords easily but had problems getting my fingers into the right places – maybe a newly tuned guitar will inspire me to start again.
All day we chatted, laughed and got to know each other a bit – finding things in common – like the how fiddly it is to get the veil straight! Thank goodness i am not the only one that finds that. We did take some pics and I will put them up when i get them downloaded. So ends a lovely day, new connections and friends made, hopefully bonds created and faces to put to names to support each other in prayer. The day was not long enough but it was a treasure and God willing we will meet up next year when another historic event takes place – the first ever EBC novices conference. Please pray for us all. Pax Sr Marie-Therese.