Forty Carmelites and as many young women descended upon Royal Palms Beach last Sunday for prayer, a meal, and music. The rocky shore line provided an exquisite backdrop to the delightful evening. It was cold, very cold, but beautiful. It was the feast of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit made His presence felt by sending a driving wind. While it was a bit of a trick to balance a paper plate and hold down your veil at the same time, a scoop of pasta salad and a few safety pins (respectively) made it possible.
This has become an annual tradition for us. Every month beginning in September, we have a group of young women who gather for a potluck dinner, a speaker, and time for adoration. (We call the group “Handmaidens.”) In May we meet at the beach. It also serves as a sort of prequel to our “Come & See” retreat which began Monday afternoon. Many women came in early for the retreat so they could join us on our outing. What a blessed evening!
I think for all of us the highlight was the music. We gathered in a somewhat sheltered area and sang praise songs one after another. Hand clapping joined guitars accompanied by violin with the flute adding to the orchestration and of course the bongos were going full force thanks to one of our soon-to-profess novices. The waves crashed in the background as we lifted our voices together in a united song of praise. Sisters just starting in religious life sang next to sisters who have been in the convent for decades. Feet in flip-flops tapped in time with the music next to those in distinctive “nun shoes.” Cameras flashed, trying to immortalize the moment but nothing can quite capture the spirit (or should I say Spirit?) that animated the evening.
Although I did not hear anyone speak in tongues (unless you count all the peels of laughter), every one of us came home renewed and revived. May the Spirit of the Lord be praised!
P.S. In case you were wondering, the cakes pictured in the previous entry were one of the desserts for our picnic. Homey and holy!