In my limited Nederlands, I can still figure out that Goede Herder means Good Shepherd and the fourth Sunday in Easter is traditionally the Good Shepherd Sunday. The liturgical readings focus on Peter, Paul and Barnabas leading the young church after the death of Jesus. The symbolism of the Good Shepherd stems from drawings of Jesus carrying a sheep on his shoulders in the catacombs around 225 AD.
This morning I came into the refectory (dining room) for breakfast and there was a huge staff with dancing daffodils (they are almost gone in the courtyard) and tulips in bouquet attached to the top of a staff attached to the Prioress`s chair. Hmmm, I thought, but was not quite sure what the significance of this was until the music sister enlightened me. Of course, the Prioress is the Good Shepherd of the Benedictine sisters here at the Béguinage and this is to honor her and her call to care for the sheep (us! ).
The altar drape also signified Goede Herder Sunday; they were white and coral with two deer grazing beautifully and peacefully either side of the foot of the cross. The priest`s robes were also resplendent to match, in white and coral with coral satin lining. The back had spectacular large deer also grazing at the foot of the cross. Streams of water ran down either side of the length of the cross to the deer below. The living water issued from a scallop shell at the intersection of the cross. The scallop shell is the symbol of Baptism and is often used by priests for the water poured over the catechumens at baptism.*
The priest exhorted us to be Goede herders first to one another and then to the world.
*Footnote: there was great excitement when it was known I had written the blog and the sacristy sister and the music sister took pains to see I had all the photos I wanted for the priest robes and altar drapings. Both were done I learned by sister in 1947 and at closer look the handwork is exquisite. Much love, patience and prayer was sown into the delicate and stunningly beautiful gold and colored stitches.