Thursday, February 10, 2011

OMS #3

The Angelus was a popular and widespread devotion dating from the Middle Ages when not only monastic houses, but parish churches, rang their towered bells at morning, noon, and/or evening. Three rings: antiphon and Hail Mary; three more rings: antiphon and Hail Mary; three more rings: antiphon and Hail Mary; Final numerous rings: closing prayer. It was meant to help people to pray, whether out in the fields, away from the church or from the main monastery building.

In our early days of religious life the Angelus bell was rung by pulling on a long rope extending down from the roof's bell. Novices or juniors rang it daily. It wasn't as easy as it first appeared and a strong and responsible young sister was always assigned to this task. Shenanigans accompanied it however, as others would try to mute the ringer so that when pulled, nothing happened. If young sisters were guilty of Angelus-tapering, I can't imagine what young monks did!

Our own pells (an electronic carillon nowadays) still sound the Angelus every day at noon. We usually are just ending mid-day prayer and don't recite the Angelus per se anymore. If you hear the bells of your local church(es) ringing at noon, listen; it might be the Angelus, not 12 tolls for the time.

To hear our own noon-time Angelus peal, go here and click on "Angelus" in the right-hand column.

A well-known painting: "The Angelus" by Jean-Francois Millet.


Announcing a mid-winter "Perk you up contest": What do the letters OMS stand for in my new series? All entries must be received by the end of the day Saturday, February 12th. You may enter up to 3 guesses. All correct entries will receive a unique and coveted prize from LTSGW.
A hint: the "O" stands for "Old."