Over these past few days, it took the Prioress to set the tone and take the lead, a liturgist to coordinate the liturgies and music, sacristans to polish and prepare, musicians to hit the right notes, cantors to lead in song, lectors to proclaim, Eucharistic Ministers to reverently minister, cross bearers to carry the weight, candle bearers to strike the match and tend the flame, decorators to decorate the chapel and dining room and living areas, dishwashers to wash dishes, table setters to set tables, kitchen helpers to cook and prepare, emergency maintenance techs to repair a last-minute microphone problem, egg-dyers to dye eggs, errand runners to run errands, the schola (choir) to sing, our Sisters in the infirmary to pray along with us, the “chief fire builder” to prepare the New Fire, the “Stations coordinator” to organize the outdoor Stations of the Cross, the entire Community to sing and pray and respond and acclaim, and every single one of us to pitch in in a myriad of ways as we journeyed with great solemnity and reverence through these most sacred of days.
It does indeed take all of us, but it’s not because of the amount of work to be done. Rather, it’s because we enter the deep resonance of these days not as individuals but as a community, united as one in Triduum lament and Easter celebration. We approach these special days like we do everything else, with every single Sister pitching in to foster our life in community, especially our liturgical life. Whether our community happened to number 5, or 45, or 105, it would still take all of us – because it’s about our community’s life of prayer, not simply accomplishing the work of prayer.
Also, it’s not just Sisters who have been celebrating here at Sacred Heart. A monk of St. Bernard Abbey has been with us as our ordained celebrant throughout the Triduum and Easter. Many guests have attended our liturgies. Some have helped us dye eggs, or build the New Fire, or eaten meals with us in silence, or walked with us on the Stations of the Cross. And most importantly, our prayers and voices gathered here at the monastery have been joined with those of the entire Church – all of us – as our Triduum lamentations transitioned into Easter’s jubilant cry:
Christ is risen. Alleluia! Alleluia!
He is risen, indeed. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Postscript – Would you like some actual ‘how many Sisters does it take’ numbers? By my unofficial tally, over the past few days we have had 1 liturgist, 3 sacristans, 2 organists, 1 schola with 6 singers, 13 lectors, 7 cantors, 7 Eucharistic Ministers, 1 flautist, 3 hand-bell ringers, 2 dining room decorators, 2 chapel decorators, 8 table setters, 2 emergency maintenance techs, 4 candle bearers, 1 bread baker, 1 fire builder (with assistance from 1 Oblate), several errand runners, many kitchen helpers, countless dishwashers…for a grand total of 45 joyful Sisters with hearts and voices united in prayer and song and the work of liturgy. It indeed takes all of us! And now, in quiet jubilation and happy fatigue, we here at the monastery are enjoying a tranquil, low-key Easter Monday, resting in the blessings and joys of Eastertide. (For more photos, visit our Monastery Moments photo page)