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  • When sleep is sweetest

  • we rise at the bidding of a bell.

  • There is no moment for idleness

  • or self-indulgence.

  • Everywhere peace,

  • Everywhere serenity,

  • and a marvellous freedom from the tumult of the world.

  • Hi! I'm Emily, and I'm Sam,

  • we're here at Rievaulx Abbey.

  • We're here to discover what it was like to

  • live in a medieval monastery. Let's go!

  • Ah, young pilgrims,

  • my name is Aelred,

  • and I am the Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey.

  • Now I understand you that want to learn something about our way of life.

  • Yes, correct.

  • I think the best way to learn

  • about what it's like to be a monk

  • is to wear the same sort of clothes that monks wear.

  • Would you like to come and dress as monks?

  • Yes please!

  • Then follow me.

  • You look very, very smart now in your monks habits.

  • Why are you called Aelred?

  • My name means, noble strength, it's Anglo Saxon.

  • My family come from the north of England and for many years they have been devoted to the northern Saints, especially St Cuthbert.

  • What does a Monk do?

  • When you become a Monk you leave the world behind

  • with all its riches, possessions,

  • your family and instead you come to an Abbey

  • and devote your life to the glory of God.

  • What do you eat for breakfast?

  • We have one meal a day and that's normally the middle of the day

  • and that meal is a sort of... I suppose you would call it porridge.

  • It's made of bread which we grind up.

  • Then we add hot water.

  • And then we add whatever vegetables we happen to have depending on the season.

  • Some herbs, and maybe some fish.

  • So what you end up with is a sort of porridge with vegetables and fish in it

  • and that's what we have to sustain us.

  • Why are your robes white?

  • By wearing white, we are wearing the colour that wool is when it comes off a sheep's back,

  • so that makes it the cheapest so that's a way of showing that we believe very strongly in our vow of poverty.

  • Do you have to be silent all the time and if you do how do you communicate?

  • Well St Benedict whose rule we follow

  • stresses that silence is very very important for Monks, because it stops us gossiping and lets us concentrate instead on God

  • so we're not allowed to speak at certain times of the day.

  • We have a set of signs that we use to communicate with each other,

  • so that people still know what's going on.

  • So see if you can guess what these might be the signs for.

  • Is that fire?

  • Light out, candle?

  • Very good!

  • What about this?

  • Does that mean porridge?

  • Yes it does.

  • So you see we can communicate with each other quite easily without the use of words.

  • That's very clever.

  • Thank you.

  • Well, you have done very, very well and you have learnt

  • all about the life of a Monk in the Abbey.

  • But you face one final test.

  • And that is the test of silence.

  • So I challenge you, to see

  • who can be silent for longer?

  • So Emily, Sam, face each other

  • Begin!

  • And everything is peace,

  • and everything serenity...

When sleep is sweetest

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B1 INT UK abbey monk porridge serenity communicate sam

How to Live as a Medieval Monk

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    April Lu   posted on 2018/05/13
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