What exactly is Taizé?
Taizé prayer has given form to a new style of worship that has become popular worldwide.
The music of Taizé is a repetitive singing of prayer chants that focus on simple phrases, often from Scripture, sung in canon. The repetitiveness of the music and prayer creates a meditative prayer experience. The overall service is broken up into elements of psalms, scripture readings, prayer intercessions, and time for silent reflection and prayer.
The Sisters of Providence have been hosting monthly Taizé Prayer Services for several years now. These Services take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary of the Woods. Services are held the second Tuesday of each month from 7-8 p.m. Holding true to the spirit of Taizé, these services are open to the public and are ecumenical. See all upcoming services.
History of Taizé
Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche (Brother Roger) was born in Provence, Switzerland on May 12 1915 to a Swiss father and a French mother. Being the child of a Protestant pastor, Brother Roger experienced the divisions and tension between the Protestant and Catholic churches but felt it was important to look beyond religious identification in order to find community and peace.
While attending university in the late 1930s, Brother Roger contracted tuberculosis. It was during this time he became aware of his interest in monastic life. At the onset of WWII, Brother Roger knew he must find a way to assist those suffering from this conflict, so he rode his bicycle some 240 miles to the small dilapidated town of Taizé, France, just outside German-occupied territory. Upon his arrival in Taizé, it is said that an elderly woman offered Brother Roger a meal and encouraged him to stay.
Brother Roger took the woman up on her offer and began raising money to purchase an unused house and its outbuildings. It was in this location that Brother Roger and his sister Genevieve hid war refugees, both Christian and Jewish, until the Gestapo become aware of their activities and the two were forced to leave Taizé.
In 1944, Brother Roger returned to Taizé where he began a regular routine of daily prayer in which he encouraged others to join him. Soon his daily prayers were joined to those of a “small quasi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and obedience, open to all Christians” .
After the end of the war, Brother Roger and the community of Taizé assisted recovery efforts by taking in orphans and former German prisoners. During this time, Brother Roger outlined rules for his community which included “silent meals, compulsory celibacy, the sharing of material goods and obedience to the prior, a role he assumed” . Today the monks of Taizé welcome roughly 5,000 young people each week for ecumenical prayer.
- Taizé. (2008). The Beginnings. Retrieved from https://www.taize.fr/en_article6526.html
- BBC. (2009). Religions- Christianity: Taizé. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/priests/taize_1.shtml