Monday, 13 April 2009

Whitby Wanderings.

As most of you know, I have been in Whitby from Palm Sunday evening until last night, staying with the Order of the Holy Paraclete at Sneaton Castle. Posts featuring my name on the bottom from Saint Hilda's have been provided by a team of Hildaites, whom I thank very much for their hard work. Maybe when I am gone to Preston in June a 'Hildaite' blog will appear showing pictures and news from Prestwich. I had a wonderful time in Whitby and have a plethora of pictures and thoughts to share with you over the coming weeks. Be assured that you were all much in my prayers, especially on Easter Sunday morning at four thirty when I traipsed to the Chapel for the beginning of the great Vigil of Easter, the (much) later Mass of which is shown above. How delightful to share in the intimacy of the sacred Triduum with a family of sisters as well, from the austerity of Tenebrae to the joyful, tearful Gloria of the Resurrection. I have never seen thirty nuns turn from solemnity to pan lid banging, clapping, bell ringing, petal strewing unrestrained joy so quickly in my life! One particular young novice, who had looked rather fierce all week (ooer, I thought to myself, best not be found out of bed after lights out!) spent the rest of the day beaming from cheek to cheek, must like the rest of us. A quick drive home (hopefully not followed by speeding tickets) meant that I was back for about five o'clock.

I will pop into Saint Hilda's today and take some pictures of the flowers which, as always, add such a great amount of joy to the Church at Easter. I will never forget the sight of the Sisters at Whitby harvesting hundreds of daffodils and lovingly decorating their home with them.

The offertory procession on Easter Sunday morning. You can just see the Prioress's staff to the far left of the picture.

The beginning of Tenebrae. I have never heard this service sung by women's voices before, having only been present in male monasteries over Holy Week, but what I have missed out on, it was wonderful. I know that some of the old Anglo Catholic Priests used to try and acquire nuns as if they were buying kippers, leading to many closed communities, but I can see why!

The beginning of the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar of repose after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Maundy Thursday.

And the apse of the Chapel. Plenty more pictures of the Convent, town and some very interesting Churches later, when I have answered all my emails and got on with the many tasks which are, as always, mounting up. I hope you all have a blessed and holy Easter week.

Of your charity, pray for the soul of the stepfather of Karen Freeman, regular commentator on this blog, who has begun the great adventure.