18 July 2008

Horarium for the Benedictine Experience retreat

In case people are interested in the Benedictine Experience weeks held in various locations across the country (and I sincerely hope they are, because they are terrific experiences everyone should consider trying!), I am going to post a bit more information about what the days are like during the week. One does not need to be Benedictine (Oblate or otherwise) to attend, but if you are considering such a commitment this is an excellent way to be exposed to a monastic day/week based on Benedictine values and the Rule. Opening and closing Sundays' schedules for the retreat I attended are included below that for weekdays. For more information on Benedictine weeks and weekends near you, and of the sponsoring organization generally, contact Friends of St Benedict (there is a website).

Horarium, Monday through Saturday (except Thursday which is a Desert day)

6:30 Rising bell
7:00 Morning Prayer and Silent Meditation
8:00 Breakfast (silent)
8:45 Choir practice
9:45 Morning Conference (presentation of a topic re Benedictine Life and Spirituality)
10:30 Break
10:45 Chapter/Group Discussion (personal sharing and discussion of morning's conference)
11:30 Break (Tea, coffee, etc, quiet sharing)
(then begin lesser silence)
12:00 Mass
1:00 Lunch (silent)
2:00 Rest
3:00 Private Lectio
4:00 Work Projects OR 4:15 Schola Practice
5:30 Evening Prayer
(end lesser silence)
6:00 recreation (wine and cheese,etc)
6:30 Dinner (silent)
8:15 Meditation

Thursday (Desert Day)
6:30 Rising Bell
7:00 Morning Prayer and Silent Meditation
8:00 Breakfast (also make bag lunches)
8:45 choir practice
9:15 Conference/ morning session
10:00 Desert Day begins

5:30 Mass
6:30 Dinner (silent)
8:15 Meditation
8:45 Compline

Opening Sunday
4:30pm Welcome and Liturgy Orientation
5:30 Evening Prayer
5:50 Recreation
6:30 Dinner
7:45 Orientation and Introductions (Everyone is invited to introduce themselves and to say a bit about their connection with Benedictinism)
8:45 Compline

Closing Sunday
6:30am Rising Bell
7:00 Morning Prayer
8:00 Breakfast
9:00 Closing Session
10:30 Mass
12:00 Lunch and departures

Note that in the main we are talking about a silent retreat here. As noted, there is recreation daily where people share, and talking is also allowed at the first and last meals. (Reading during meals was a regular feature of the week.) In times of lesser silence there is minimal talking or noise, usually having to do with work, choir practice, or chapter. Participants are encouraged to sign up for schola or a work detail of some kind around the ranch since Benedictinism revolves around the values of Ora (Pray) et Labora (and work) and is dedicated to finding God in all things (in the ordinary).

Office was ordinarily sung (chanted) and choir practice prepared everyone for the next Offices in front of us. Individuals are also encouraged to take leading roles in the liturgies, whether Mass or Office, and this especially includes roles one has never taken on before. We had people serving Mass who had never done so before, lectoring, acting as thurifer and controlling the thurible, etc, and it was all lovely and very rich because of this. Readings were prepared by all individuals ahead of time and generally done well, processions were practiced, and the Solemnity of Saint Benedict was a major celebration! An Icon drawn by one of the participants (Lucia Dugliss) was installed in a small outdoor shrine in the courtyard of the Ranch House after we had used it in Church and processed outdoors with it after Liturgy. It was very clear at at all times that the day (whose heart was contemplative) revolved around the Liturgy.