Friday, October 5, 2007

"Into Great Silence"

Below is the second half of an e-mail I sent to the students in my History of Christianity course yesterday. (The first half involved Giotto frescoes of Saint Francis.)

We had already studied Benedict, the granddaddy of them all (in the West; we studied Basil and Macrina in the East too) and the later Cistercian reforms. This was just a bonus because the movie happened to be showing on campus as part of a French documentary series.

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The film "Into Great Silence" about the Carthusians is tomorrow evening, Friday, at 8 p.m. in Bryan Auditorium in Frank Family Science Center. Slow, quiet, and beautiful. Here's a link to the Carthusian order. It was established in the late 11th / early 12th century (depending which founding event you use), so it's right within the purview of our course. Although most monastic orders today have adapted to contemporary life -- see, for instance, some Catholic Benedictine Sisters (Erie, PA, the group to which the well-known writer and peace activist Joan Chittister belongs), some Anglican Benedictine Brothers (the Order of the Holy Cross), and the ecumenical community of Taizé (see also here for short description of the Taizé monastic community, founded in the 20th century - the first link incorporates this description and much much more about Taizé-related activity around the world) -- the Carthusians remain much as they were centuries ago and have always been among the strictest of monastic orders, even more so than the Trappists. They do, however, have that website!

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I just saw "Into Great Silence" and I am going to be silent about it except to say "go see this movie." (Unless you are fidgety or have ADD or ADHD -- although if you do, it may calm you down. It's nearly three hours long and has hardly any words.)

None of my students came, but it's Friday night and at least they now have web links. Yes, I had also announced it in class. Twice.

If you insist on reading a review, here's one by Laurence Freeman, O.S.B. (the Christian Meditation guy).


Grandmère Mimi said...

The movie is not likely to be shown around here. Perhaps one day on DVD....

It sounds lovely. Three hours of "slow, quiet, and beautiful"? Who can complain?

Caminante said...

Cool. I went to the Grande Chartreuse first in 1976 and then again in 1978. It is an amazing place, even to visit as a tourist. Thanks for the memories.