We’re experiencing some problems with the boiler that heats the church and chapter room. Given how the temperatures still drop so low at night we’ve begun congregating in the refectory, where there is heat, to celebrate the Divine Office and Mass. We hope to have the problem corrected soon.
Of course, this is nothing like the unheated churches I remember in Rome; even where I lived, I put on more clothing to go in church than I needed outside on a winter’s afternoon. We could see our breath as we chanted in choir and wintry breezes swaying the cross that hung over the altar (there was not much sense–or realization–of insulation either). Oh what wimps we Americans are! More seriously, who can’t think of those in our own country who can’t afford fuel in this weather?
The guests in our Retreat House, these days, are getting a glimpse of more than the monastery than they usually see and can testify that we’ll never appear in the pages of Architectural Digest. But they’ll also tell you that the odd acoustics of our refectory certainly enhance our singing.