Monday, January 26, 2009

Heads or Tails - Loud

Skittles started a meme called Heads or Tails and this week the topic is Loud which can be interpreted however one wishes.

How would you like it if you were never allowed to be LOUD again.

I have just finished a book which made several references to the Roman Catholic order of the Convent of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. In the book the nuns were never allowed to speak to each other but used hand signals to communicate. In fact they were not permitted to look at each other but to keep their eyes downcast and friendships were not permitted. The convent was completely enclosed with windows barred and placed high so one could not look outside. It sounded terrible to me but I researched it and came up with a little information.

Cistercians Sisters of the Strict Observance Rules

  • Food consists of bread, vegetables, and fruits. Milk and cheese may also be given except in Advent, Lent, and  Fridays.
  • Meat, fish, and eggs are forbidden at all times, except to the sick.
  • All sleep in a common dormitory, the beds being divided from each other only by a partition and curtain, the bed to consist of mattress and pillow stuffed with straw, and sufficient covering. The sisters are obliged to sleep in their regular clothing; which consists of ordinary underwear, a habit of white, and a scapular of black wool, with a leathern cincture; the cowl, of the same material as the habit, is worn over all.
  • Enclosure, according to canon law, is perpetual in all houses. It is never allowed for the religious to speak amongst themselves, though the one in charge of a work or employment may give necessary directions; and all have the right of conversing with the superiors at any time except during the night hours, called the "great silence".
  • It would be a place where they would eat only the simplest, harshest food; would abstain totally from meat. There would be time for both manual labour and spiritual reading. Above all, it would be a place of silence where they could pursue contemplation.

Trappists is the popular name for members of the Roman Catholic order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, which traces its beginnings back to 1664 at the monastery of La Trappe  in France. The Trappists stress the penitential aspect of monasticism - little food, no meat, hard manual labour, and strict silence.

In the mid 20th century the Trappists increased in membership, particularly in the United States.  The Trappist monks and nuns, who wear a white habit with black scapular, now have about 70 abbeys worldwide.


Skittles said...

It would take a special person with tremendous faith to live that way.

What's the name of the book? It sounds very interesting.

(Can you imagine all those women and none of them TALKING?)

anthonynorth said...

That was interesting. I certainly couldn't deny myself in such ways.

Hootin' Anni said...

Wow...that was an interesting tidbit of the nuns' lives.

Tricia said...

I respect their beliefs and their devotion to them; but no way no how could I do it. Thanks for the educational HoT.

Joy in the Burbs... said...

That was interesting. I didn't know that they didn't speak and only used their hands.


Cicero Sings said...

Our sister-in-law's sister was a cloister nun for MANY years (around 30) ... went in as a young thing. She recently came out ... she was almost loosing it ... in that confining restricting environment. She is still working in the Catholic church as her commitment to God remains strong, but no longer as a cloister nun.

Sue said...

I could never keep my mouth shut! It does sound like a fascinating book :)

Anna said...

And some people say God's laws are restrictive and harsh. They're nothing compared to the traditions of men. That sounds absolutely horrible. Seriously. I cannot imagine what would attract a girl/woman to that kind of life. I also can't imagine it's anything God is pleased with.

Tumblewords: said...

Interesting....sure not for me, but...