Malawi Poor Clares: A Window on African Catholicism Print
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 16 March 2009 16:42
I just stumbled across a stunning video of Malawi Poor Clares singing and dancing in their chapel. Once you get used to the non-western musical scale, the grace of it is mesmerizing. There is translation of words into English with an Irish lilt. Perfect for the eve of St. Paddy's Day and the eve of Pope Benedict's trip.

A remarkable window into the world of African Catholicism. Unfortunately, the embedding is disabled, ">but please watch it here.

You don't get more Catholic than Poor Clares but this isn't what comes to mind when I think of Poor Clares.

It reminds of something I read last night about the cultural struggle between the French novices and their Spanish superiors in the first Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris in 1604. The French found the habits of the Spanish nuns, some of whom had been mentored by Teresa of Avila herself, odd and excessive.

For instance, the Spanish nuns found nothing odd about bringing their spindles into the recitation of the office and into Mass because for them to have their hands busy while their minds were absorbed in prayer seemed normal. And the Spanish nuns liked to cry and sing aloud to express their love of Christ which irritated their French sisters who found it exaggerated.

Oh for the days when the biggest cultural gap in the Church was between the French and the Spanish . . .