Nashville Retreat, Part V: Saturday Evening

Saturday Evening

5:00 Vespers and rosary

5:30 Dinner

6:30 Spiritual Reading and Compline

7:30 Discussion Groups

8:15 Holy Hour

9:15 Silence and return to dorms

10:00 Lights Out

 

Oratory stained glass

Oratory stained glass

oratory altar and ambo

oratory altar and ambo

Vespers was lovely, as usual. In the Dominican way, the prayer is chanted side-to-side, with the sides alternating: this is so one side is “preaching” and one side is “receiving” the preaching. After dinner, we had spiritual reading and compline back in the chapel. I didn’t get spiritual reading, though, because I met with Sr. John Thomas for my “spiritual direction.” We met in one of the parlors for about 15 minutes, and she was incredibly helpful. She is warm and caring and incredibly sweet.I’m going to write to her with updates on how her advice is panning out. 🙂 So we finished and made it to compline, which was my favorite office at the convent because of the salve. I loved seeing the sisters bow to each other as they processed; a lot of them smiled at each other as they did it. There seemed to be such sisterly love and devotion–truly brethren dwelling in love and unity!

After compline we headed back upstairs to break into discussion groups–each group had one or two sisters who talked with us. The best thing I heard here was one of the sisters saying: “You don’t have to wear a habit to be holy.” Holiness is a duty for all of us, but it’s so easy to forget and think that only nuns and sisters and priests can be truly holy.

It was time for holy hour now, and we got to sit in the sisters’ stalls, which was a real treat. Each one keeps a variety of things there: her breviary, a bible, a Magnificat, the hymnal, their spiritual reading book, etc. Some had pictures of statues or of holy places or paintings. The sisters’ schola (choir) joined us and sang about every ten minutes. Father Eckert led the service. Holy Hour consists of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, an opening hymn, the Divine Praises, the Tantum Ergo, and a closing hymn–usually “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”

We all used the time differently–some read, some prayed, one girl did sleep. 🙂 It was so great to be there and to just be in The Presence. I read a little bit but mostly just thought about what Sr. John Thomas had recommended, and prayed about it.

After Holy Hour, we headed to bed. I slept very well that night (blessing!)

 

 

 

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