By Sister Kim-Phuong Tran
Taizé Prayer was ﬁrst brought to the Ruah Center at Villa de Matel around twenty years ago by Elizabeth and Al Turner. Both are American History professors living in Houston. Elizabeth and Al come from a Baptist faith tradition, have a great passion for Taizé prayer and are good friends with the Taizé community in France. At that time, Sister Adeline O’Donoghue, Director of Ruah, welcomed Liz and a few other Taizé friends to Ruah beginning with simple prayer sessions with Taizé music on cassette tapes.
Within a few years, this simple and faithful Taizé group grew bigger and attracted more friends and Sister Adeline had to bring the prayer group to the Villa Chapel. Throughout the past years and up to the present time, Elizabeth continues coordinating the music program for prayer with Bridget Wenk, music director at Christ Redeemer Parish, and Al provides the Taizé booklets. About ﬁve years ago, Sister Adeline passed the Taizé service ministry on to the Vocation and Young Adults Ofﬁce at Villa de Matel and said, “Taizé prayer drew many young adults throughout the world; so it should be a perfect ministry for your ofﬁce.”
We follow in the footsteps of Sister Adeline in the Taizé prayer ministry adding an environment that attracts more young adults and provides an opportunity for them to become involved with our young adult programs. We enlarge the community through conversations with friends of God and by providing refreshments at the Villa Dining room after every Taizé service.
In Sister Adeline’s talk in 2012, she said, “Welcome, brothers and sisters. Welcome into this chapel and into the company of other friends of Taizé, now a growing community in the greater Houston area. That bodes well for our city.
Too often in today’s world, and in our day to day lives, we are drawn into the company of brothers and sisters in various parts of the world and of our city, through reports of violence or of chaos. Moreover, division and wrangling in our government such as the inability of elected servants to really be there for others, to serve the common good discourages us. We watch the misuse of power at home and abroad, and feel even helpless as we personally face the darkness of our own human condition.
However, we have come here tonight pulled by a different power, drawn by a community without walls – a community which was born from what Pope John XXIII referred to as that little springtime of the Church – Taizé. What was born there in Taizé? A community intent on promoting reconciliation and communion with brothers and sisters.
Taizé spirituality promotes reconciliation and communion with brothers and sisters of all faiths. A community which nurtures deep appreciation of silence, Taizé music calms and draws one into appreciation of God’s most powerful language – silence. That is the gift in our world today because in the silence we can be reconciled and shaped to promote reconciliation. In the silence, we are strengthened to be with personal disorientation and that allows God to heal us and send us forth to heal others. Taizé provides an opportunity to gather for prayer around the Cross. We remember that Christ still suffers in us, in our families and in our brothers and sisters everywhere. Christ, our healer gathers us. Christ, who is our Hope of Glory gathers us. He heals us and strengthens us for the work of ministry.
We feel called and blessed by God to bring people from different faiths to unite together with Christ on the Cross and for those who seek healing and reconciliation. Taizé blends in well with the healing ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in our contemporary time. The ministry of Taizé recognizes the power of God’s love to bring His people together, without walls or distinctions.
(The above reﬂection was adapted from an orientation Sister Adeline O’Donoghue gave to a group of Taizé participants around the year 2012.)