The Nights of Many Bells

In some monasteries, the new day begins in the middle of the night. "Not long after midnight," writes Mother Mary Francis PCC, "Sister Sacristan...sets her jaw for what is at once a beautiful and a grim task:  to rouse all the other sleeping nuns.  It is a beautiful task because the sacristan's bell is summoning the community to a midnight tryst with God.  It is a grim business because Poor Clares unfortunately carry their souls about in the same clay casing found on the rest of humanity..." (A Right to Be Merry, pp. 115-118)

Out here in the world, I can't identify with bells that rattle me from sleep in the middle of the ni...

O but wait. O yes. Yes, I can. The nights of many bells were several decades ago for me now, but some of you are reading these very words between two such nights.  We know what it's like.  We're deep into a sound sleep, having finally fallen exhausted into bed, when the baby cries.  Is it time for her to eat again?... oh, it can't be!  We drag to our feet, get the baby, feed her, and now she needs a diaper change.  Three hours later, this sweet voiced little "bell" rings again.... (click here to continue) 

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