A week ago Sunday was Christ the King (or Christus is Koning in Nederlands), another Feest day – which seems especially meaningful with Brussels on red alert and in lockdown for possible terrorist activity. It is comforting that God is King, and not the ways of the world. It is snowing, the first of the year, as the six Sisters and I tread softly and carefully over the slippery cobblestone courtyard, under the still dark sky, to Lauds at 7:15 am. We open the feast day singing to God in Latin, which beautifully resounds in the dark, quiet, yet warm, comforting and encompassing church. The three sizes of candles lit for intentions and prayers of tourists and locals alike flicker in the darkened church, welcoming us and reminding us to pray for others (even for and perhaps especially terrorists) as we cross in front of the oldest statue of Mary in Bruges to our always beckoning seats in the choir. Breakfast was welcome after safely again traversing the courtyard arm in arm with an 80-year-old Sister. Special individual breads/buns were collected by the kitchen Sister at the bakery before Lauds and waited for us invitingly in a basket on a freshly ironed red checked towel. Homemade peach jam accompanied them.
The flowers for the Mass were yellow roses; the priest’s vestment was another Béguinage treasure: sky blue satin lined with blue and gold embroidery. The beautiful psalm and responsory tunes were stunning but difficult. Dinner included tomato mushroom sauce and broccoli soup, five Belgian chocolates and homemade fruit tart with cream filling. Music was from a Wagner opera. Recreation, a social and sharing time of games, handwork and pleasant conversation, is postponed on Sundays until 5 pm leaving time for recollection, reading or a nap in the afternoon before the feast day is passed and the ancient round of prayers and praises resumes on Monday morning.