On Saturday, September 20, 2014, we shall be sponsoring a day of chanting meditation with Marsha Eger in the parish hall of Our Lady of Lourdes Church here in Windsor. No special singing ability or prior experience with chant or meditation is necessary.
Marsha has a Master’s Degree in Ritual Chant and is a teacher and singer of chants of all world traditions. She teaches chant and meditation in Ireland, notably at the Benedictine Abbey of Glenstal, as well as in Europe and the U.S. Her description of the workshop is as follows:
“During this day-long workshop, a perfect break from the everyday busyness and stress of life, Marsha will discuss the benefits of chanting and meditation and will lead participants in chants from many of the world’s spiritual traditions. Chanting will be followed by periods of quiet or meditation, so that participants can experience the power of a chanting meditation practice. This in itself will create inner peace, but we will go more deeply. Throughout the day the focus of discussion, chants, poetry and prose, will be on inner peace, living calmly amidst the turmoil and stress of our lives. We will look at how both Western and Eastern traditions approach the idea and practice of creating inner peace as a state-of-being.”
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Marsha will be taking care of registration for the workshop. (If you are coming from out of town and would like to stay at the monastery guest house, please contact the Sisters to reserve a room.)
To enroll: email Marsha at: email@example.com
or call her at: (607) 592-2465
Please bring your own lunch. Tea/coffee breaks will include homemade treats.
Please email Marsha with any questions and to register at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Psalm 92 as rendered by Gaya Aranoff Bernstein
It’s good to pause
to praise the Lord
and notice all you have
with Sabbath eyes
to take the sofa
off your back
to start the morning
sing the dawn
and see the work of God
to wonder at the colors
and the fragrance of the earth
to look up and
to see the cerulean skies
to wait until the stars bring back
and you resume your search
to gather shards of scattered light
those who never stop
to lift their eyes
the righteous are renewed by God
like palm trees near a stream
like cedars old and strong
from Psalmsongs: A Gathering of Psalms (Arthur Kurzweil Books, 2014)
Last week, we got a vocation inquiry from someone in California who said that she’d heard that Transfiguration Monastery was closing. She did not want to disclose the source of the rumor.
For the record, we’re alive and well, living our contemplative monastic life to the best of our ability, in fidelity to God and to the Rule of St. Benedict. We plan to keep going for as long as God gives us life and health, and we hope that there will be women discerning a vocation to contemplative monasticism who will ask to join us.
If you would like to attend the Oblate Day on July 26 and have not yet signed up, please contact us as soon as possible. We have room for one additional overnight guest.
We invite all Benedictine oblates, as well as those interested in becoming oblates, to an Oblate Day on Saturday, July 26. Sister Donald will give two conferences on the theme, “Deepening Prayer,” and there will be ample time for silent reflection and prayer.
The schedule will be as follows:
10:00: coffee and snack
10:30: conference, followed by quiet time
12:00 midday prayer and lunch
1:30 conference, followed by quiet time and an opportunity to meet with the sisters
The Oblate Day ends officially at 2:30, but all are welcome to stay and join us for Vespers at 4:00 and the vigil mass of Sunday at 5:00.
Six bedrooms are available for overnight guests coming from a distance.
Suggested donation: $20.
This past week, six of us had the great privilege of writing an icon of St. Michael, under the tutelage of Mrs. Roseanne Rouff, with talks on the theology of icons by Sr. Donald. Our friend Betsy Hughes catered the noon meal each day, thus freeing Sr. Sheila and Sr. Myriam to participate in the retreat.
Before her retirement, Roseanne worked for 34 years as a special education teacher. Her expertise in this area was evident in the care with which she prepared the materials for each participant, the clarity of her instructions, her infinite patience and her supportive attitude. Of the six participants, four of us had never written an icon before. Any initial tension around our “performance” soon gave way to the realization that the point was not to create a great work of art, or even to finish on time, but rather to center down, enter into the process and connect with the Archangel Michael.
In addition to sharing illuminating theological insights, Sr. Donald talked to us about the sacred geometry in the icons of the Transfiguration and the Holy Trinity, as well as the significance of the various colors. She also prepared a folder for each participant with meditations and articles for further reflection and color reproductions of a wide variety of icons. To nourish our prayer, she led us in a meditation that she often uses when giving retreats on the Trinity icon.
At the end, we all expressed the hope that Roseanne would agree to lead us in a second class. Roseanne felt strongly, and we concurred, that the three days had been too short. Even though the point was prayer, rather than having a beautiful finished picture to take home, we’d all felt a certain pressure to finish. If we do this again, possibly next October, we’ll schedule four full days, instead of three.
Daffodils are blooming despite chilly weather, tiny leaves are emerging on trees and shrubs, and Transfiguration Monastery is blessed with new beginnings. On Shrove Tuesday, God sent us a new sister, a transfer candidate from another Benedictine Monastery. She was happy to find us, and we are delighted to welcome her.
Sister Donald, whose deep faith, fidelity and perseverance have kept Transfiguration Monastery alive and afloat against all odds, has asked to be relieved of her position as prioress. The Superior of St. Paul’s Monastery has asked Sr. Sheila to take on the role of prioress, beginning on May 1. Sr. Sheila is counting on your prayers!
We shall be offering a retreat/workshop in iconography, beginning on Sunday afternoon, May 18, through Thursday morning, May 22. Sr. Donald will give talks about the spirituality of icons, and Mrs. Roseanne Rouff, an experienced practitioner and teacher of iconography, will guide the participants in writing an icon of St. Michael. The workshop will be geared to beginners, but open to iconographers of all levels. Room, board, and all necessary materials are included in the $450 tuition fee – a real bargain, compared to other iconography workshops we checked out online! Due to space limitations, we can accept only 5 participants, so if this appeals, sign up soon!