Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum

Saturday, 8 September: Third Day of the Symposium

Saturday, 8 September
Third Day of the Symposium, Papal Audience

French Day


Lauds, in French, was a bit earlier than usual as we had to leave for the Vatican at 8.30 for our audience with Pope Francis. We had been told very clearly several times to have our conference name card with us as it was our ID to get into the Vatican—we all had them!

We went to the Vatican in two coaches, walked down to St Peter’s Square and, after a while, joined the queue to get through the general security check for everyone wishing to enter St Peters. Another short wait, and, after showing our ID, we were ascending the first flight of steps to the audience room. There were several Swiss Guards around in their colourful uniforms—we were amused to discover that the Guard visible from St Peter’s Square was actually a very life-like model.

We crossed a very pleasant courtyard, then stared our ascent. We had been warned that there were a lot of steps up to the audience room, but everyone manged it, much to the credit of the less-able members of our party.

We were early, so we had quite a long wait in the audience room, but at long last 11 am arrived, and, amid enthusiastic applause, Pope Francis arrived and took his seat.

The Abbot Primate, Abbot Gregory, introduced us to Pope Francis, then Pope Francis addressed us.

listen to Abbot Gregory (Italiano):–

Abbot Gregory (Italiano)

listen to Pope Francis (Italiano):–

Pope Francis (Italiano)

There was tumultuous applause as the Pope left at the end of the audience, including traditional ululation by some of the African sisters, Abbot Gregory said later that the Pope had enjoyed the ululation.

listen to the ululation (mp3)


Then, after looking at the frescoes in the audience room, it was back down the stairs, back to St Peter’s Square, and back to San’ Anselmo in time for lunch.

photos of our trip to the Vatican (Flickr)

Private photography wasn’t allowed during the audience, but photos taken by the official Vatican photographers would be for sale afterwards. As our group would be dispersing back all over the world at the end of the week, they printed one A4 size photo of each person meeting the Pope, and a stack of a group photo, and brought them to San’ Anselmo that afternoon for us to buy.


None was lead by the Polish and Ukrainian sisters

After None, Sr Scholastika spoke to us about VDQ (Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere on women’s contemplative life, 22.07.2016) and Cor Orans (Implementing Instruction of the Apostolic Constitution “Vultum Dei Quaerere” On Women’s Contemplative Life) and the implications for our communities. This was followed by discussion.

text of the Apostolic Constitution (Vatican website)

text of Cor Orans (Vatican website)

Implications of Vultum Dei quaerere & Cor orans
Sr Scholastika Häring

listen to Sr Scholastika (English):–

Sr Scholastika (English)

PowerPoint slides (pdf)

This was followed by:-

Announcements from coordinator and liturgists

Vespers combined with Mass, today French was the main language.

watch the African dance at the Offertory Procession (video on Flickr)

Cena—another chance to share our experiences of the day.