So I am back from my live-in at St. Cecilia’s. St. C’s is wonderful. I love the community, I love the Office, I love the Latin, I love the work, I love everything about it. Their whole life just fit me like a glove. It was different to how I expected, in the most wonderful way because it was just so amazing. But then again I’m not really sure how I expected it to be. The sisters are all wonderful, though I didn’t get to really meet all of them. The novitiate are just fabulous – Mother Mistress and Mother Zelatrix and amazing. They have two juniors, one made her first vows not long before my arrival, and a brand-new postulant who has only been there six weeks. The postulant had actually read my blog and send me an email but we expected to just miss meeting each other since she wasn’t supposed to enter for another few months but ended up coming early so it was fantastic to meet her. Anyone who thinks nuns are unhappy should be sent straight to St. C’s – their joy just shines out of them. At recreation we’re always laughing right up to the bell for the next Office! There were times when I was walking down the cloister to Compline still giggling to myself. And the silence! Oh the silence. I never thought of it as silence but more as quiet, a beautiful calm stillness. The Great Silence lasts until Mass so you get a wonderful few hours in the morning of just quiet, punctuated only by the Office. And the lessons were always so interesting, even in just the short while I learnt so much. I loved the host-making, but I was surprised I actually liked gardening a lot and I’m well known for claiming an allergy to nature of all kinds. And of course I wasn’t exempt from having to clean! But even that could be enjoyable if you took the right attitude to it.
One of my most profound moments there was one Sunday at recreation. I sat next to one of the older sisters, a very sweet lady I became very fond of. The sister on the other side of her said “Tell Emily how long you’ve been here.” The elderly sister looked at me and said “I’ve been here for 63 years.” And then she paused and after a moment she said to me, with a fierce determination in her little voice, “And you know what, I haven’t regretted a second.” In this sweet little elderly sister, with the quiet gentle voice, she said this with such passion and determination, it was incredible.
I’ll write more fully about it soon, at the moment I’m lacking a computer so this is being posted from an iPod touch and it’s difficult to write with.