Saturday, 1 September 2012

More about Fontgombault.

Of course, the main part of any retreat is the food, and I was not disappointed!! The lunches were amazing! After Grace was chanted, which took 2-3 minutes, a section from The Rule of Saint Benedict, then you could eat! First there was either soup or fruit, the soups were great, but the Monks put a lot of salt into them! The fruit was also lovely. Most of the meals for the main course had boiled potatoes and another vegetable and at lunch with something else. I don't think I disliked  a single meal! After that there was pudding, which was either fruit or something else sweet. I think most of the food that they eat at the Monastery is grown by the Monks, with some exceptions, like on the Sunday there was rice which I don't think is possible to grow in mid France. At the end of lunch there was coffee which I drank for the first time there and liked it, but you had to drink it very fast and it was hot. After all the guests had finished drinking their coffee, the Monk who had been chanting in French, concluded his chanting with Tu autem Domine... and then everyone rose and the Monks chanted the after Grace which went on for about 5 minutes, and then there was nothing to do till Terce at 2:40. After Terce you could do work and I did, every day except Sunday.  It was hard, my friends and I worked every day, trying to clear a field full of rubble so that I presume the Monks can plant something there. On Wednesday we worked with a lot of French scouts picking potatoes. After the work was done there were refreshments, which were lovely! Cold mint tea, I think and dark chocolate fingers! Until Vespers at 6:00 there was nothing to do. After Vespers, we normally went to the houses where our families were staying and quite often had a bit of their tea, so we succeeded in getting two teas most days!! The teas in the Monastery were a bit simpler than the lunches with mainly only vegetables for the main course, and no coffee at the end. After tea there was nothing until Compline at 8:35 so my two friends and I usually prayed the Rosary between tea and Compline. After  Compline, all the Monks and some of the guests said a silent prayer to Our Lady, and then it was bed!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great Charlie, I like the chanting Grace and the food bit, not so sure about the work bit though.