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Graciela

Discalced Carmelite Nuns & Gregorian Chant Questions

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Graciela
Others have noted that some Carmelite Monasteries in the U.S., under the 1990 Constitutions, use Gregorian chant for the Liturgy of the Hours. These include Buffalo and its foundations in Alexandria, and Brooklyn.

The Carmels of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Valparaiso, Elysburg and Canyon) use Latin for Mass and the office, but I am unsure if they use Gregorian chant or monotone. Does anyone know?

The 1581 Constitutions, upon which the 1990 Constitutions are based state clearly (in paragraph 3 of the Kavanaugh & Rodriguez translation) that "The chant should never be sung with musical notation but should be done in a monotone and with uniform voices. Ordinarily, everything should be recited, and also the Mass, for The Lord will be served if some time remains so that the Sisters may earn their livelihood."

Does anyone know when these Carmel's began using Gregorian chant and how they see it as fitting with their desire to remain faithful to St. Teresa's original reform, given that she so clearly directed recitation and monotone chant? The 1990 Carmel's are so clear about wanting to retain the traditions of St. Teresa's day according to the 1581 Constitutions, that I am rather stumped as to why they are willing to change this one about the liturgy of the hours. I know that the change is not mandated by any wider church law or directives.

Thanks to anyone who has some insight about this.

Graciela Edited by Graciela

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graciandelamadrededios
Maybe Chiqui can answer this quesions. St. Teresa preferred recto tono in the recitation of the Divine Office. It is stipulated in her primitive constitution, the very first text she wrote for her nuns in Carmel of St. Joseph in Avila.

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graciandelamadrededios
I am familiar with the 1990 text sine I have a copy. I am not sure though if some 1990 monasteries use gregorian chant foe the LOTH or the recto tono in Latin. The Nuns in Manila Carmel recites the office in english - recto tono.

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graciandelamadrededios

The following are taken from the 1990 Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns:

 

39. 4 On Sundays and Feast Days, Mass, Vespers (Matins), are to be chanted.  On the first days of Easter, and othe days of solemnity, especially on the feast of the glorious Saint Joseph, Lauds may be chanted.  The chants shall never be harmonized (on one tone), but all the voices in unison.  Ordinarily, the entire office is simply recited.  The Conventual Mass is to be said daily (on one tone)*19, which all the Sisters are to attend, if they can conveniently do so.  They are not to be absent from the choir without a just cause.  When the hours are over, each one shall go to her respective duties of office.

 

*19 The chanting of the Divine Office should be moderate and devout in conforminity with the Sacred Liturgy

 

Matins, On one Tone – These words with brackets are on the 1581 Constitutions but was taken off from the 1990 text since these norms have fallen into disuse and no longer have juridical value.

 

I read on the biography of Mother Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament, that the Spanish Line monasteries always conforms with the directives of the Church in using Gregorian Chants for Masses.  When Pope Benedict ordained that Latin Rite masses can now be celebrated, the Nuns probably reverted back to Latin Masses.

 

There are/were differences with the customs of Discalced Carmelite Nuns, between Spanish Line monasteries and French Line monasteries, as well are regional customs adapted to suit the lifestyle of the monastery in which they are located – even before Vatican II.  It was said that concessions were made for the Nuns when they brought the Reform of St. Teresa in the USA.  Though this does not mean the Spanish are more Teresian than the French or vice versa.

 

St. Teresa never wanted elaborate chants on the Divine Office.  She wanted the Nuns to devote more time to work and prayer.

 

Operative word of the Carmelite Rule is” Necessity has no law.”  If the community feels it is necessary for them to celebrate the Mass using Gregorian Chant, I find nothing wrong with it, and it did not contravene the constitutions written by St. Teresa, since she calls herself, Daughter of the Church, she would have followed the directives of the Church in our modern period.

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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Chiquitunga

This is a good question Graciela!



Others have noted that some Carmelite Monasteries in the U.S., under the 1990 Constitutions, use Gregorian chant for the Liturgy of the Hours. These include Buffalo and its foundations in Alexandria, and Brooklyn.

 

They do the LOTH in Latin with monotone chant normally, and use Gregorian chant on Sundays and Feast days.

 

 


The Carmels of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Valparaiso, Elysburg and Canyon) use Latin for Mass and the office, but I am unsure if they use Gregorian chant or monotone. Does anyone know?

 

Basically, they do the same as above.

 

One difference between them is that for Holy Mass, the above Carmels (Buffalo, Alexandria, Brooklyn) having the Ordinary Form, will usually sing (in Latin/Gregorian chant) the Ordinaries/responses, etc. at daily Mass, although it would be more solemn on a Sunday or Feast day. But with the JMJ Carmels having the Traditional Latin Mass, their daily Low Mass has no singing or responses from the Nuns at all. Then on Sundays and Feast days or other times when they will have a High Mass, they will sing (Gregorian chant) the Ordinaries, Propers, responses, etc. throughout the Mass.

 

Also the JMJ Carmels ask new postulants to bring their own copy of the Liber Usualis http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/music/gregorian-chant/choir/liber-usualis-1961.html

 

 

The 1581 Constitutions, upon which the 1990 Constitutions are based state clearly (in paragraph 3 of the Kavanaugh & Rodriguez translation) that "The chant should never be sung with musical notation but should be done in a monotone and with uniform voices. Ordinarily, everything should be recited, and also the Mass, for The Lord will be served if some time remains so that the Sisters may earn their livelihood."

 

The footnote in this quote from paragraph 49 in the 1926 Constitutions (translated into English in 1928, I need to correct the title there) sheds some light on this, https://picasaweb.google.com/ocdnunsjmjt/1928RuleConstitutions?authkey=Gv1sRgCK_avuXWqcWGdA#5120435114622858162

 

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I'm not sure if this fully answers your question though as to when it was introduced, but it's the most I can come up with for now. I think it makes sense that Gregorian chant, having all voices in unison as opposed to polyphony, would fit into what St. Teresa called for. At least it looks like that is the way it has been officially interpreted here. 

 

As far as I'm aware regarding the Office normally being "simply recited" (quote from English version of 1990s) this is/can be interpreted as monotone chant. I believe the Church recommends the recitation of the Divine Office in common to be sung, at least I remember reading that in the Introduction to the LOTHhttp://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdwgilh.htm  In Chapter V-II it quotes,

 

"The sung celebration of the divine office is more in keeping with the nature of this prayer and a mark of both higher solemnity and closer union of hearts in offering praise to God. . . . Therefore the singing of the office is earnestly recommended to those who carry out the office in choir or in common." (Musicam Sacram 37)

 

Hopefully all of this sheds some light, though I am still not sure about the history of how Gregorian chant was introduced in the Discalced monasteries, though at least we know clearly that it has been interpreted by the Church as not being against St. Teresa's Constitutions.

 

If I learn anything more about this, I will try to post it here.  :like:

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graciandelamadrededios

The Carmelite whose turn it was to enter the pulpit in theréfectorydid not read as if speaking in a conversation. The reading was done in almost a musical way in recto tono (from Latin: in a single tone), meaning that the text was read on the same note, like a mi (e) for example. To improve the sound of the reading, the tone was lowered a half step at the end of a sentence.

 

taken from* http://www.archives-carmel-lisieux.fr/english/carmel/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11881:accueil-textes-lus&catid=81:textes-lus-et-entendus

 

In the recital of these "Hours" we are told in some of the old rules that a longer pause coupled with the soul's devotion supply the deficiency of the solemn chant. "It would seem", says Banmann,

 

http://www.stteresamargaret.org/DSP/DSPCarmeliteDay.htm

 

 

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RoseOfGuadalupe
The Carmel of the Holy Cross use Gregorian chant. Their voices are so beautiful!

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