Monday, June 05, 2006

the convent

I made a decision the middle of last week to go to the Convent of St. Helena in Augusta this past weekend, because the sister with whom I've talked most about my own journey is going to seminary and will be living in New York for the next three years. I wanted to see her before she leaves. My daughter decided she wanted to go to--she isn't into Sunday school or church but she likes going to the convent.

What struck me is that some of what I'm feeling as I look at boarding schools with my daughter is that she has the opportunity to be a part of a group and feel she belongs. When I was her age I didn't have the ability to do that, and in some ways I feel I never have felt I belonged. But it struck me that the convent feels like a place where I do feel I belong, despite the fact that I can only be an associate (being happily married).

Sunday only one sister and I showed up for the diurnum service. Since most of the prayer service is chanted or read responsively, that meant that it fell on me to do a major share of the service (though we read rather than chanting, I can't carry a tune). The order has now published their breviary after years of using the draft version in loose leaf notebooks. But it is still pretty complicated to follow along, particularly on a class I feast day when there is a special antiphon and lesson. And I knew how to do it all, even the part that isn't listed in the daily guide.

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