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Rebecca Theresa Reed.

Six months in a convent, or, The narrative of Rebecca Theresa Reed, who was under the influence of the Roman Catholics about two years, and an inmate of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict, Charles online

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Online LibraryRebecca Theresa ReedSix months in a convent, or, The narrative of Rebecca Theresa Reed, who was under the influence of the Roman Catholics about two years, and an inmate of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict, Charles → online text (page 7 of 12)
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religious decorum, and in respect to our
vows, — poverty and obedience ; for which
we most humbly ask pardon of God,
penance and forgiveness of you, our Holy
Mother." As each one finishes, the "Holy
Mother" gives her advice and penances,
and her blessing ; they then kiss her {eet,
and sometimes make the cross with their
tongues on the floor ; then making their
inclination, they retire to the choir to per-
form the penances.

After they are all assembled in the
choir, the Superior says, Kyrie eleison,
and they all answer, Kyrie eleison ; the
Superior says, Christe eleison, and they
answer, Christe eleison, &c. &c. She then
says Litany to the Saints in Latin, be-
ginning with :: Sancta Maria," and they



INACONVENT. 83

respond, " Ora pro nobis," &c. &c. This
ceremony is very solemn. It is performed
until eight o'clock, A. M., when we re-
ceive our portion, sitting on the floor. The
bell rings at half-past eight for young
ladies' recreation. Then we attend to
study until a quarter before eleven ; then
private lecture until eleven; then bell rings
for the examination of conscience till a
quarter past eleven ; then for diet. The
services at diet >X: are, after repeating

* Our diet consisted of the plainest kind of food, principally
vegetables and vegetable soups, Indian puddings, and, very sel-
dom, meat. Our tea. was made of herbs, sometimes of the bitter-
est kind. We partook of this diet in imitation of the Holy
Fathers of the Desert, to mortify our appetites. Pumpkins,
stewed with molasses and water, served us sometimes as a dessert.
Occasionally we had mouldy bread to eat. A very insignificant
piece of butter was sometimes placed on our plates. The Supe-
rior's diet was far better than ours; semetimes it was sumptuous,
wine not excepted. I ascertained this, as 1 occasionally, in turn*
went round to gather the fragments. She sent me, on two occa-
sions, some apple parings to eat, as a part of my portion. Some-
times the Religieuse deny themselves any diet ; prostrate, kiss the
feet of those who remain at table, performing various kinds of
penance, while the others are eating and listening to the reading.
Those who have permission to deny themselves in the morning,
take their work-baskets as they pass to the refectory ; where thsy
aew by caudle-light, as the lecturesa is reading. This has a so-
lemn and impressive appearanee.



84 SIXMONTHS

Latin : — first, they seat themselves in or-
der upon a bench, first crossing themselves
in their appointed places, on one side of a
long, narrow table ; before each one lies a
small linen napkin or servet, rolled around
another small cloth, containing a knife and
fork ; beside each servet is a plate contain-
ing the "portion:" then the Superior enters
and passes along to her table, at the
head of the room, the Nuns making their
inclinations as she passes. She then makes
a signal on her snuff box, and the " Reli-
gieuse," whose turn it is to speak, says,
''• Benedicite ;" the Superior answers, " Be-
nedicite;" and so it continues, in a similar
manner, from one to the other, the " Effi-
cient"* repeating a Latin prayer. The Su-
perior then makes the signal for thelectu-
ress to read from the Lives of the Saints
and Martyrs, while the others are eating.
When the signal is given, each one rolls
up the knife and fork in the napkin, and



• The Efficient is one who repeats prayers and officiates during
the office and serves at Mass.



INACONVENT. 85

lays it as she found it ; (they also open it
at a signal;) and the one whose turn it is
to do so, after kissing the floor, as a token
of humility, takes from the drawer a white
apron and a basket containing a napkin,
and after putting on the apron, brushes the
fragments from the tables into the basket,
and takes the servets, making her inclina-
tion to each one. She then takes the
articles off the Superior's table, one by
one in a napkin, in a solemn manner. If
any eatables fall on the floor, they must
be taken up in a napkin, and not by any
means with the bare hands.

After this, the Superior makes a signal,
and the lecturess and before- mentioned
Religieiise kneel in the middle of the floor
and kiss it, and immediately rise and join
the others in repeating the Latin prayers ;
after which the lecturess rings the An-
gelus. During this ringing, they all kneel
and repeat it, then assemble in the com-
munity for " recreation." During this
they are permitted to converse with one



86 SIX MONTHS

another, but in a particular and low tone,
and only on such subjects as the Superior
shall give them ; if she be absent, the
conversation is usually on the subject last
read at the table ; and they work during
the time. After recreation, public* lec-
tures take place, and at one o'clock the
bell rings for " visitation" to the altar,
which, with the Vespers, occupy us an
hour and a half. Then the Rosary is said.
On hearing the bell again, we all assem-
ble in the community, where there is a
"point of prayer" read. Then lessons
occupy us until five ; meditation and re-
llcction half an hour longer ; then the
bell again rings for diet, where we go
through the observances before named;
then recreation forty-five minutes ; then
the miserere^ during which the bell rings ;
then public prayers in the choir ; then the
Benedictus rings, and the Lay Sistersf

• Public lecture means a subject read aloud by the lecturess.

■f One Lay Sister remains kneeling in the entry until we get to
the psalm called Te Deum, when she rings while we are saying it
The Keligieuse bow ot knee., &


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Online LibraryRebecca Theresa ReedSix months in a convent, or, The narrative of Rebecca Theresa Reed, who was under the influence of the Roman Catholics about two years, and an inmate of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict, Charles → online text (page 7 of 12)