Thursday, 26 January 2012
Latin Mass, Coffee and free WiFi
I have had a super day at the Poor Clare's today, working with old friends and new friends. The community in Arundel seem to grow each time I go, which must be bucking the trend for enclosed convents and monestaries in 2012 I imagine. They are a vey cosmopolitan community, with sisters from Zimbabwe, France, Malaysia, Ireland, Scotland, England and India. They have a gift for 'inclusion', the welcome, and the bringing in of everyone is very tangible, whether to a new sister from another house in the world, or a brand new postulant, and even to a paid worker and relative stranger like myself.
We started our day with some general exercises in a plenary session. The music director Sr F always has some repertoire she wants me to work on, so after the warm ups, and maybe a new type of technical help we embark upon learning the new material.
There is, at the moment a very difficult issue in the Catholic church regarding translations of the Latin mass. I was, I must be honest, largely unaware just how contentious this has become, and it seems many years have gone into the minutiae of syntax of these translations. Without putting too fine a point upon it, I got the feeling that many folk feel that the time and finance might have been put to better use. The new lexianaries which contain these modern translations cost £258 per book, and each church, convent, monestary has to have a copy and has to use it. To me, as an observer and onlooker, the changes seem very small indeed, but it is not my place to judge, I realise!
We embarked on a squeaky clean new setting, new translation, of the Gloria. To put it mildly, I felt it was rather uninspiring, over complicated and perhaps a youthful composer trying to put in everything he/she has learnt in academic studies ! Bearing in mind that the nuns, whilst being very competent, and some very good readers, it was tough going, and took me all my cheeriness, encouragement and 'you can do this!!, to keep them motivated, and believe me in general nuns and monks are VERY self motivated. Some even indicated that a quiet word in the Abbess's ear about the suitability of this particular anthem, might relieve the situation. Like everywhere, an outsider can sometimes say what the insider finds hard to verbalise. I may give it my best shot tomorrow, and duck !
The Abbess is great, ducking will probably not be necessary.
To turn to the vastly important subject of Guest House food, I had the most wonderful vegetarian lasagne last night. I am generally not a fan of the usual veg lasagne, but this was splendid. I w told today that it was stuffed with lentils, red and green as well as chick peas and lots of onions. It tasted like manna from Heaven ! I have asked for all the ingredients which will be gladly given to me, but Sr G the young cook from last night said she could only give amounts enough to feed 30 mouths! I said, fine - one of my Paradise cooking friends will do the maths, and may even make it!
Am coffee ing in the Premier Inn opposite the convent, where free WiFi is on offer!
Costa coffee, wifi and nuns: a fine combination indeed!