This week's "Take This Tune" is Emmanuel, the beautiful Advent chant: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It immediately reminded me of a wonderful book read many, many years ago: "In This House of Brede" by Rumer Godden which was later made into a movie starring a couple of truly great Dames, Judi Dench and Diana Rigg. The Constant Librarian reviews the book as follows:
The main character is Phillipa Talbot, a 40-ish successful career woman who enters an English Benedictine monestary. Author Rumer Godden skillfully weaves several plot lines that tell Phillipa's story as well as the stories of many of the other nuns. Sister Cecily the musician, learned Dame Agnes who becomes Phillipa's bete noir, tragic, silly exaggerated Dame Veronica, a victim of the rigid British caste system, and Dame Catherine who is elected Abbess. The writing is so beautiful--there is one description of the seasons of the year that never fails to move me no matter how often I read the book.As the author takes you through the life of one woman in a very confined setting, the outside world becomes clearer as bits and pieces of it enter with each new novice. The absolute power present in a life given over to an ideal becomes a decision that we all must make at some point. What do you believe, who do you love, what will you do with the years granted?
In looking to write this, I found two pieces of interest. A modern description of a retreat taken at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Benedictine Monastery in Westfield, Vermont, "A Day Within The Walls" and on You Tube another beautiful chant by the nuns of St. Cecilia Abbey..