The Easter Vigil saw the church again in its resplendent finery. The faithful had gathered on a very windy night at the door of the darkened church for the lighting of the new fire from which the individual candles of the congregation are lit. This sharing of light symbolizes the entry of light into the world. The only hitch was the wind was too strong and although like Sir Ghalad, men stripped their suit jackets to shield the bundles of wood, nothing would entice the fire to be lit. I believe a cigarette lighter in the end (a moment of amusing practicality!) ignited the Paschal candle which led us all to our places in congregation or choir. No matter, the Easter spirit was ignited.
The Exultet was magnificently sung by a renowned priester in full voice. We sisters had listened to the Exultet at dinner captured on tape in 1960 when it was sung by a then 80 year Rudolphe Hoornaert, the the first Priester and founder of the Benedictine sisters in the 1930s. The high altar was beautifully adorned with flowers as were both side altars and of course again lace appeared. The lace on the high altar was very old I am told and the communion table has a, new at Christmas, lace trim done by the Beguinage’s very own lace making sister (not me!). There was wonderful joy in the chanting in anticipation of Easter morn. There were even delicious pastries after the Vigil in our refectory. The temptation to indulge after 40 days of somewhat sugarless meals was almost overwhelming but it was late. 7:15 came early but we were all up for lauds and then Easter Mass and the church was lovely in the light of day and quite full I might add of the faithful. All the responses and hymns were filled with the joy of resurrection and the Alleluias returned to the responses. Yes truly Alleluia. He is Risen indeed.