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Friday, April 15, 2005

The walls and garden of Carmel

I recently stayed in a Carmelite monastery.

Tita Cory from my centering prayer support group has been telling me for ages to visit the Carmelite Monastery in Gumaca because they have a beautiful garden and a great view of the sea plus she is also thinking of something else. I would just smile and tell her she scares me...but one time I felt the urge to go and so I finally went.

I was not able to see the inner garden since only the nuns are allowed there because of papal enclosure. However, their outer garden was nice too and they had a very beautiful chapel!

I also got a good view of a beautiful sunrise. My window faces the sea with the view of an island on the farther side, and when the sun rises while being partly hidden by clouds it was actually picturesque. It was a good morning treat that added peace to your soul!

The Mother Superior allowed me to stay in one wing of their building. Even if I could not see the nuns, I could actually hear them especially during prayer times. Tita Cory was in another room on the first night but I was all alone on that wing the next night.

The silence was great! That is something rare for someone who lives with a big family. Try imagining living in a household of 15 people sometimes even more… 4 of those being hyperactive toddlers with great lungs, I am sure you’ll understand how precious silence could be!

The convent was not really far from the road so that at night you could hear the sound of buses and the karaoke sounds from distant neighbors… but their sounds were muffled so that I actually thought of them as chants! It took a while for me to realize that they were not really chants! Actually even my walls sounded like they were chanting!

It was a nice experience staying there. I don’t know when I am coming back to Carmel or if I will I ever get a chance to see their inner garden?

I have an invite… but I don’t know if I can afford the price…


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