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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Weekend - Part II

On Sunday my cousin, her husband and I made the trip to Mass at the Monastery in Livingston Manor, NY. The full name of the order is Monastic Family of Bethlehem and the Assumption of the Virgin. Saturday afternoon, my cousin called to find out the time of Mass. She was told it was between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. We arrived at about 7:30 and they were still doing morning prayers.

They were doing a kind of chant, which I love and find so relaxing and peaceful. The church or chapel was very small. We went upstairs where there is room for no more than 20 people. The nuns were the only ones downstairs. I noticed that there were no statues, only icons. After doing some research, I found out that the Eastern traditions of Christianity are very important to them. They combine the Eastern traditions with the Roman traditions including some Latin.

It was a lovely Mass, made more so by the chanting of the nuns. It felt very much like the Masses of my childhood, before Vatican II. I felt very peaceful and serene. In fact, the area is so peaceful that we didn't speak louder than a whisper even outside of church. I asked the Prioress or Mother of the community if I could take some pictures of the area. Naturally (and unfortunately) I don't have any pictures of the interior.

The church is inside this enclosure. You can see the bell that they sometimes ring. I didn't hear it on Sunday.

Here's a better shot of the church.

There is a lawn sprinkled with yellow flowers surrounding the church and then there is a lake just beyond.
This is a picture of the old church. They have a newer one, although it is just as simple. I prefer a simple, country church.

The Monastery is in the mountains. We took a lot of country roads, even some unpaved roads. The countryside there is beautiful. We even saw some wildlife - several deer.

It was a wonderful, restful and peaceful weekend. Now I'm ready to return to my busy days, at least I think so.


BetteJo said...

Nice to go somewhere tranquil where there is a spirit of renewal. Lots of bad stuff out in the rest of the world. Sounds so peaceful.

ms/sss said...

Thank you for sharing all of this. I felt like I was with you, experiencing the peace and tranquility of the Monastery, recalling the Gregorian Chant, prevalent in the Catholic Church, early in our lives. I wonder how today's cloistered Sisters compare to the Sisters we all knew and loved decades ago?
ms/sss said...

Thanks for the memories. When I was young and very impressionable, I also had a small, almost stable-like church, which I fondly remember to this day. My church also had to be re-done eventually to accomodate its growth in parishioner size and somehow never seemed the same. It's funny how childhood memories cling so much. The pictures are lovely and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.