From the lakeshore, we went to the chapel and vespers (Evening Prayer). My friend had suggested I take one of the few seats around the chapel's edge. She would sit with most of the residents on the floor.
I had only seen the chapel before when it was empty. Now, it was very full of life. I was handed a binder and psalm-book as I went in and found a seat. I would have had great difficulty getting myself up and down from sitting on the floor!
As my friend had warned me that she would not be sitting with me, she jokingly added that I'd better not embarrass her. About the first thing I did when getting settled was to drop my psalm book on the wooden floor!
The chapel is lovely. There is an iconostasis at the front of the chapel behind the altar. The glimmer of the sanctuary lamp can be seen only dimly from where we are. Icons of the apostles line the wall above the iconostasis. There are also icons of The Blessed Virgin and Jesus, of course.
I see a series of brass bells hanging from a T-shaped pole near the altar. I assume these bells would be rung at the Consecration during a Mass.
The ceiling of the chapel is a mesh of wooden beams rising to the point of the roof. Everything seemed to gleam. This chapel was well loved and well cared for. The wood was heavily varnished and spotless.
Vespers were a treat. There were no instruments but the human voice. Psalms were all chanted in what seemed to be perfect four part harmony. It was truly lovely. The chants were simple enough for me to follow, even with this being my first time here. The woman I sat beside actually commented that I must have been here before. When I said I had not, she said "Well you must be a musician then!" I 'fessed up. I do love being able to sight read music!
After vespers, everyone trooped over to the main house for dinner. I kept on the jacket I had put over my rather bare shoulders when we were in the chapel.
We were seated at a table set for 6 people. There were two priests already seated and they stood up as my friend andI came to sit down. We were later joined by the woman I'd chatted with in the chapel and another woman.
Conversation was pleasant. I was jokingly chastised for not being up on my GK Chesterton readings. We spoke a little about Beloc. It turned out that one of the priests and the woman from the chapel had spent a good deal of time in a couple of MH missions in York, England and in Russia respectively. Having been to Europe myself for the first time last year. We shared a lot of our observations.
The meal was simple but very good. We had cold roast beef, new potatoes, carrots, zucchini salad with a cold strawberry and walnut pudding for desert. I am told that meat is only eaten on Sundays here. After dinner we had tea.
Conversation was a big part of this time for all the diners it seemed. Everyone seemed very relaxed and happy.
By the time dessert was served, I was beginning to melt. There were no bare shoulders in the room so I didn't take off my jacket...
After dinner, the Rosary was recited. Although it began and ended in English, the three 'inside' decades were in French, an African language, and Russian.
After the Rosary, good-byes and thank-yous were exchanged and we went on our way to return home.
It was a lovely relaxing day. I do hope to be able to do it again and perhaps bring other friends. My friend has a list...