Chapter Room Furniture Arrives

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The Auditorium Spiritus Sancti

In the monastic tradition the Chapter Room is sometimes referred to as the Auditorium Spiritus Sancti, that is, the place wherein one hears the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Chapter Room is so called, because every morning after Prime, the community gathers there to listen to the reading of the appointed chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict. After listening together to the reading of the Holy Rule, the abbot (or prior) gives a brief commentary on the text, generally one having a practical application.

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Refurbished Oaken Stalls

We were fortunate to acquire a set of thirteen oaken choir stalls (seats) that had been removed from a religious house in County Monahan some years ago. They were in very poor condition, but our friend Philip McArdle completely restored them. Although the Chapter Room is not usually used for chanting the Divine Office, it does require a certain formality of design. It is the place where serious business is transacted. It is the place of the community's daily instruction, the place where novices receive the habit, where the brethren ask pardon for offenses that affect the quality of life together, and the place where intentions of prayer are recommended to the community every evening before Compline.

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Place of Gathering Twice a Day

Generally speaking, the monastic family will gather in the Chapter Room twice a day: in the morning after Prime to listen to the Holy Rule and the prior's commentary on it, and again in the evening before Compline for prayer intentions, news, announcements, and a spiritual preparation for the liturgical feast of the following day.

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Room for Growth

Our Chapter Room will be able to accommodate thirteen monks in all: the prior plus twelve others. The rest of our monastery is also being designed for a community of between thirteen and eighteen monks.

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Statue of Our Blessed Lady

What remains to be done in the Chapter Room? The timber floor must be resurfaced, and the plaster of the ceiling and walls repaired and painted. There will be new sets of doors and, if Our Lady so arranges it, a beautiful carved statue of the Virgin Abbess above the double doors of the Chapter Room that lead into the statio cloister. We have found a very gifted sculptor in Austria who would be able to carve a statue of Our Blessed Lady Abbess in linden wood. The artisan, obviously, is worthy of a just recompense for his craftsmanship. I am confident that Our Lady will inspire some generous soul to step forward and offer to sponsor this project.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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