Being Benedictines, forerunners in liturgical movements since the Middle Ages, our rituals and traditions are a rich and significant part of our community life. Here's a very small but much-treasured one that we have. It only lasts a month at a time, so if you're not here or you're here but don't notice it, it could go right past you. But, for us, it marks a very special time.
For the first month after one of our sisters passes away we place a small, round table right at the entrance to our chapel space. On the table is a candle that is lit during every prayer time. An acrylic frame holds a sheet on which we read the words:
This candle burns
for thirty days
of our sister
who shared her life
until her death
May peace eternal be hers!
This one has about 5-6 days to go and has been a beautiful reminder for me and many others, I'm sure, of the life of Sr. Maureen who died in January. One sister has kept a vase of fresh flowers on the table, too. (Where she finds these in the middle of an Erie winter is a mystery to me!)
I think after the 30 days I will steal away the little table, along with the candle, frame and vase for fresh flowers and place them in my room for the next 30 days---no, I think 300 days.