Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Silence


Silence is the monk's greatest treasure: it favours everybody's prayer, work and rest; that is why we are happy to share it with you.

Silence is absolute from Compline to Lauds of the following day; during the day, avoid loud conversation in the cells and the corridors.

It is not possible to listen to the radio or cassette without earphones.

Lastly, out of respect for the recollection of others, we would ask our guests to keep silence during breakfast and tea.

Extract from leaflet Welcome to The Abbey

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Music is the space between the notes - Claude Debussy

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The best writer is the one who communicates his thoughts in the least number of words - anon

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The word "noise" is derived from the Latin word "nausea," meaning seasickness. Noise is among the most pervasive pollutants today. Noise from road traffic, jet planes, jet skis, garbage trucks, construction equipment, manufacturing processes, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and boom boxes, to name a few, are among the audible litter that are routinely broadcast into the air.
Noise negatively affects human health and well-being. Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction and lost productivity, and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquillity.
We experience noise in a number of ways. On some occasions, we can be both the cause and the victim of noise, such as when we are operating noisy appliances or equipment. There are also instances when we experience noise generated by others just as people experience second-hand smoke. While in both instances, noises are equally damaging, second-hand noise is more troubling because it has negative impacts on us but is put into the environment by others, without our consent.
The air into which second-hand noise is emitted and on which it travels is a
"commons," a public good. It belongs to no one person or group, but to everyone. People, businesses, and organizations, therefore, do not have unlimited rights to broadcast noise as they please, as if the effects of noise were limited only to their private property. On the contrary, they have an obligation to use the commons in ways that are compatible with or do not detract from other uses.

From the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse web site

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Mobile phone services for airline passengers arrive 21/06/2004 by Sean Cornwell

ARINC, the transportation communications and systems engineering company, and Telenor are soon to market new technology to allow airline passengers to use personal mobile phones aboard commercial flights. The new technology will in theory allow seamless usage of today's popular GSM mobile phones on any commercial aircraft flight.

"Passengers will be able to make and receive mobile phone calls, and send or receive text messages just as they do on the ground," stated Graham Lake, ARINC Vice President and Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa. "It is not a question of whether mobile phones will be used on aircraft. It is merely a question of when." The new technology initially will leverage the Inmarsat SATCOM systems currently deployed on 3,000 aircraft worldwide. The system is alsodesigned to accommodate evolving technologies such as the Inmarsat Swift/BGAN and Ku broadband systems such as ARINC's SKYLinkTM.

The two companies will offer the airlines a comprehensive, one-stop implementation package. The technology will address the airspace as a virtual GSM country, simplifying the mobile addressing and connectivity during flight. Current terrestrial GSM roaming charges are being used for end-user pricing models.

From DMEurope.com web site



Feasting on Words – Monks Listen to Literature While They Eat in Silence By Barbara LeBlanc

When Fr. William Sullivan, O.S.B., asks what you are reading these days, he is not making small talk. He really wants to know.
As Prior of Saint Anselm Abbey, Fr. William selects the books that will be read to monks at lunch and dinner, according to a tradition spelled out in the Rule of St. Benedict. He scours The New York Times best-seller list and combs book reviews for biographies, histories, and other non-fiction works that provide a menu for the mind while the monks take their meals in silence, as also dictated by the rule.
“You can tell you chose a good book when people go up and read what they missed if they missed a meal,” he said.
The job of reader rotates weekly among the monks. Recently, Fr. Anselm Smedile, O.S.B., read from A History of the Popes 1830–1914, by Owen Chadwick. Sitting in a balcony high above the dining tables in the paneled dining hall known as the refectory, Fr. Anselm knew he was expected to read correctly and with some animation. St. Benedict was specific on that point, as well.
“I try to prepare for the week by reading the selections that are to be read from the Bible, Rule of Benedict, and the current book,” Fr. Anselm said. “The only frustrating parts of table reading for me are the words in foreign languages or mispronouncing words that many of the monks know, but I have never come across before.”
In years past, the prior would ring the bell if the reader mispronounced a word. “Read it again,” Fr. William said, imitating one prior’s German accent. That happens no longer. Now, Fr. Jude Gray, O.S.B., a former professor of public speaking and oral interpretation, or another monk will mention the correct pronunciation in private.
“I’ll say, ‘You know that word…? Well, most people pronounce it this way,’ ” said Fr. Jude, who has coached younger monks in preaching and table reading. “It can be very intimidating for a young monk, with all those Ph.D.s down there.”
His advice: Read the text beforehand and know what words to emphasize. “Sense echoes sound,” he said.
Silence makes for quick meals—as short as 15 minutes at lunch—so a book can take three months to complete. Between books, there may be papal documents and other pertinent texts to read. At noon, there is always a section of the Old Testament and at dinner, passages from the New Testament, Rule of St. Benedict and the Abbey Book of Customs.
“Like serving a meal, we need to speak the Word, as though feeding by ear,” said Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B.
Monks are enthusiastic about the reading, saying it enhances fellowship and exposes them to books they may never have read on their own. Fr. William noted that it also provides diversion to a group of men who, seated according to seniority, may be passing the salt to the same dinner partner for 50 or 60 years.
Among Fr. William’s selections, David McCullough’s John Adams is the reigning favorite. The least favorite? The History of Blood, which was suggested by a monk then living at the abbey, didn’t last two meals.
“People couldn’t take it,” Fr. William said. “They were getting sick.”

From web site of Saint Anselm Benedictine Community web site.



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