23/June/2009 Filed in: Jottings
At this time of year we celebrate three feasts that are great favourites with the community. Yesterday we had SS Thomas More and John Fisher, today we have St Etheldreda and All Holy English Nuns, while tomorrow we have the Birthday of St John the Baptist. More and Fisher were great Englishmen with whom we have a number of connections that make them not-so-distant figures. At Hendred House over the way you can see More's drinking cup and Fisher's cane, with which he walked to the block, while we look to a nearer connection through D. Gertrude More, disciple of Fr Baker and a worthy great-great-grandaughter of the martyr. As English nuns,we have no difficulty in identifying with our predecessors when, for example, we read about changing into night shoes in the Regularis Concordia and quietly note our own custom today, though none of us is wearing a hairshirt under a purple tunic, nor is the prioress's veil edged with gold as some of those found at Shaftesbury were. John the Baptist is the most monastic of saints, the most joyful, the most attractive because the closest to Christ. No doubt I'll write more about him tomorrow. Meanwhile, on the principle that one should taste and see that the Lord is good, I'll mention that we tend to associate these feasts with different foods. For More and Fisher fried eggs (More loved them, apparently); for English nuns a bowl of cherries, the first of the season; and for St John the Baptist, the first new potatoes of the year and honey at supper. No locusts, and no strong drink, but plenty of good cheer all the same.