In early times, the daily Chapter was a traditional feature of the monastic timetable. The monks left church at the end of the office of Prime and processed to a room near by, where a portion, or "chapter," of the Rule was read and the abbot commented upon it. It was also the natural occasion for announcements to be made affecting the life of the community and for a blessing to be given upon the day's work. Soon the room itself came to be called "the Chapter Room, or House" or simply "Chapter." Even today some form of this practice exists in many monasteries, including our own. Each month this page will feature a chapter talk given to the Community, as well as news and features. We hope you will visit us regularly.

 

Allocution for the Clothing of Patricia Quaye 

 All the Saints of the Benedictine Order 2014

 

Behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her … and there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt (Hos. 2:14-15).

Dear Patricia,

When God wants someone, He draws her, sometimes choosing to speak to her heart and mind with unmistakeable clarity.  She is free, it is true, to accept or refuse, but He makes it evident what His own Heart longs for.  His love being stronger than her misgivings, she entrusts herself to Him in faith, hope and not a little courage.  She allows herself to be taken up into that place in the Sacred Heart which has been prepared for her alone and where she finds profound acceptance, welcome and peace.  It is a mutual indwelling: The Lord has chosen Zion: He has desired it for His habitation: “This is my resting place for ever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it” (Ps. 131:13-14).  Henceforth she remains, læta et secura, in that place in His merciful Heart, always at home, yet always open in spirit to the world.  There her own heart is instructed in holy wisdom and humble love and in a care for justice; taught also about the way of the Cross, on which the Bride of Christ is called to walk, in company with the sorrowing Mother of Jesus and other faithful women.  She is taught how to resemble Simon of Cyrene, compelled to carry the Cross with and for the humiliated Jesus, finding a hidden sweetness in the wood.  She becomes like the woman who wipes the Face of Jesus and is for ever marked with His image.  Like the Beloved Disciple, she never abandons Jesus but loves Him to the end.

 

Entrance into His Heart; entrance into the monastery.  There, too, is the mysterious place assigned by Providence; the via vitæ; the erudition of the heart; the bearing of the burdens of others; the communion of love with Jesus, His Immaculate Mother, the angels and saints.

 

The saints exemplify discipleship to an heroic degree, sometimes to the shedding of their blood.  In a likeness to the Blessed Sacrament, these martyrs are made “purest bread for Christ” by their total sacrifice (cf. St Irenaeus, Letter to the Romans).

 

The Curé d’Ars had a special devotion to a virgin martyr who is said to have been decapitated around the age of thirteen, under the reign of the Emperor Diocletian in 304AD.  A “mystic friendship,” says one author, grew up between him and his “sweet star, his guide, his comforter, his pure light.”  He credited the one he called his “consul” with God with many miracles of healing, a reputation she has retained to this day.  Even in a more sceptical age, Pope Pius X could write: “We read the name, Philomena, on her tomb … It is certain that the soul which animated those sacred remains was a pure and holy soul … so beloved by God, so pleasing to His Holy Spirit, that she has obtained the most wonderful graces for those who have recourse to her intercession.”

 

St Philomena will be your patron in the monastic life and, since the Blessed Virgin is the pattern for all sanctity, you will be known as Sister PHILOMENA MARIA.  May they be your strong intermediaries with God and an ever present help to your dear family and friends.

 

You can go forward now confidently in your life of true devotion, praise and intercession, spreading around you the warmth of the affection of Christ and the lightness of the Holy Spirit.  Your “Day with Mary” will become a lifetime spent with the Mother of the Lord, in the service of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who strengthens you.  And as Peter of Celle says in a lesson for the Memoria of the Saints of the Benedictine Order, our hope is not confined to this life alone.  We are promised the “infinite reaches of heaven”, where we shall “receive consolation in place of desolation, riches for poverty, glory for subjection.”  Hope, in those cloistered, “does not contemplate the things which occur in time, but those which last eternally.  It understands that laborious discipline has an end and that everlasting glory will ensue” (De Disciplina Claustrali).


Previous Chapter Talks