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bless or share words of encouragement with any who chose to approach him. It seems to me Brother Roger is very much the heart and soul of Taizé. Every evening, youth gathered at his feet for a blessing, while a train of children followed him wherever he went like a scene out of the Pied Piper. He spoke briefly with each person and then offered a blessing with a short prayer in French. When I went forward for a blessing and told him where I was from, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to eat with him and the rest of the Brothers at Sunday dinner. It was a rare opportunity to observe him interacting with those who believe so strongly in his vision. While the community of Brothers numbered a handful in the beginning, there are now over a hundred – Protestant and Catholic, from all corners of the world. These Brothers are not just to be found in Taizé; there are also small fraternities working in some of the poorest parts of the world. For me Taizé exemplified a remarkable simplicity of life. This was not just found in the beauty of the prayer but in every aspect of the community. The food was some way short of typical French cuisine. One meal was just a bowl of sliced carrots. There was certainly nothing elegant about the presentation. However the three meals a day provided a great opportunity to meet young people from places I had only encountered before in an atlas. Like the food, the accommodation was also very basic. Apart from tent sites the bunkrooms were sparse and barely lit. I shared a room with three Germans, three Frenchman and a couple of Algerians. The common language used in the bunkrooms was broken English. It was easy to find commonalities, and conversations seemed to linger long into the night. When I left the bunkrooms on the last day I discovered that my bag was a little lighter. It seemed surprisingly natural that someone had decided he needed some of my possessions more

than I did! The Bible study and discussion consisted of a simple dialogue of the Christian message. The discussion each morning was preceded by a talk by one of the Brothers either introducing a passage from the Gospels or retelling a story from the Old Testament. The talks were simple, interactive and allowed translations to take place in several other languages. Small groups were formed at the conclusion of the talks, and they dispersed into different parts of the complex to discuss some of the questions that had been raised. Discussion did not stay on the topic for very long, and quickly turned to the cultural peculiarities that made up the group dynamic. After the evening prayer meeting which ended at around 10pm, Oyak – an open-air café – was opened. Only one glass of beer or wine was sold to each person per night, and on a few occasions some visitors found that a little difficult.

While I was there, two groups in particular were responsible for the spontaneous singing and dancing each night: a large group of Spanish youth sang, danced and laughed in a large circle; and a Rock Band of four young French women with great looks, loads of enthusiasm but very little talent. It was a perfect counterbalance to the serenity of the prayer meetings. My week at Taizé stands out as one of the greatest experiences of my life. I discovered truly inspiring prayer, I found simplicity exemplified, and perhaps most of all, 30-3I found incredible encouragement for my personal and professional journey with God. I would recommend a visit there to young and old alike. It is a community appealing for the beauty of its location, the beauty of its prayer and for its simplicity. ■ Reuben Hardie is a Presbyterian Minister serving St Ronan’s Church, Eastbourne

Adult Education Trust

Rev George l. Drury, SJ Study Retreat

‘The Experience of God’

In reference to the work of Karl Rahner SJ March 8th and March 9th 2003: Sat 9am-4pm & Sun 9am-3pm St Thomas of Canterbury College – Edmund Rice Centre 69 Middlepark Rd Sockburn ChCh Cost: $50 ($40 students/unwaged) Bring your own lunch tea and coffee provided Registration essential Ph (03) 348 3912, 366 4911, 021 449201

Fr George Drury is a Jesuit priest, who is the Ignatian Professor of Theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology Cambridge Mass. For the last 30 years Fr Drury has been actively engaged in teaching Philosophy, Theology and in the apostolate of the Spiritual

Other AET Events:

13th Feb 7.30-9.30 ‘A Consistant Ethic of Life’, Mary Eastham, Mercy Library Caledonian Rd (Koha $10/$8) 20th Feb 7.30-9.30 Themes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius (1) George Drury SJ, Mercy Library ChCh (Koha $5) 20th March 7.30-9.30 Themes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius (2) George Drury SJ, CSN Tuam St ChCh (Koha $5)

Tui Motu InterIslands 23

Tui motu 2003 february

Tui motu 2003 february