A Brief History:
In August 1940, with the Second World War raging in Europe, a young man named Roger came alone to settle in the tiny village of Taizè, near the town of Cluny in eastern France. While living a life of prayer, he began to assist political refugees, mostly Jews, who were trying to escape Nazi occupation.
Brother Roger's concern for victims of injustice was matched by his refusal to accept the divisions between Christians. In coming to Taizè, his intention was not to start a new church or denomination but to create a "parable of community" rooted in the monastic tradition, a community of brothers who would make a life commitment to celibacy and to material and spiritual sharing.
From Burgundy to Block Island
Three times a day, everything on the hill of Taizè stops: the work, the Bible studies, the discussions. The bells call everyone to church for prayer. Hundreds, even thousands of people from all over the world pray and sing together with the brothers of the community. Scripture is read in several languages. In the middle of each common prayer, there is a long period of silence, a unique moment for meeting with God.
Here, at St. Ann's by-the-Sea there is a time when, together, people stop their busy lives and make time to enter into the peaceful communion with God that exists in silent prayer. Why? Because they have felt that longing, that silent desire for a communion. Perhaps you too have felt that longing. We publish the dates of Taize on this website and on our Facebook page.
Silence makes us ready for a new meeting with God. In silence, God's word can reach the hidden corners of our hearts. In silence, we stop hiding before God, and the light of Christ can reach and heal and transform even what we are ashamed of.
That peaceful communion also exists with singing. The short songs that characterize Taizè prayer, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Along with silence, meditative sing thus becomes a way of listening to God.
These songs also sustain personal prayer. They can continue in the silence of our hearts when we are at work, speaking with others, or resting. They unite prayer and daily life, and allow us to keep on praying even when we are unaware of it, in the silence of our hearts.
Today, the Taizé Community is made up of over a hundred brothers: Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed, coming from around thirty nations. By its very existence, the community is a “parable of community” that wants its life to be a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples. The brothers of the community live solely by their work. They do not accept donations. In the same way, they do not accept personal inheritances for themselves; the community gives them to the very poor.
Certain brothers live in some of the disadvantaged places in the world, to be witnesses of peace there, alongside people who are suffering. Small groups of brothers, in Asia, Africa and South America share the living conditions of the people around them and strive to be a presence of love among the very poor, street children, prisoners, the dying, and those who are wounded by broken relationships, or who have been abandoned.
Everyone is welcome to come to the Taizé prayer services. For further information about the Taizé Community, please visit the Taizé website: www.taize.fr
Contemplative Prayer Outreach - www.franciscan-anglican.com/enaw