BENEDICTINE Spirituality is centered on two pillars: Ora et Labora, Latin for "prayer and work." Our entire life community in Ndanda is punctuated by these two pillars. Not only do we get up early in the morning for prayers (Laudes), but also we celebrate Eucharist before we start our daily manual work. Unlike most religious who have a tradition of reciting their prayers, we, like other Benedictines worldwide, sing our prayers using the Gregorian chantSoon after starting to be a mixed community of European and African monks in late 1980s, praying the Divine Office in Kiswahili, the official language of Tanzania, we thought about singing some parts of the Office.                                                                          



Sr. Barbara Ruckert OSB from Tutzing was a special help in fulfilling this idea. She had studied semiology and thereby was prepared to do this job. In 1994 we had printed as a draft our small Antiphonale with the name Masifu ya Jioni, i.e. “Evening Praise.” It was just a small booklet containing Vespers for the week. Slowly but surely we started singing, first on one day of the week, then on two days and finally every day. Other booklets were added, for Advent, for Christmas time, for Lent and for Easter. Finally in 2000 we got our Antifonale ya Kiswahili, i.e. “Kiswahili Antiphonale.”



Sr. Barbara composed this book, working together with Sr. Elisabeth Kerp OSB from Peramiho. We started to use this book at the beginning of 2001, while still using the booklets for Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. There are wonderful melodies in these books. We like to sing these melodies and now they are part of our daily life. We are grateful to Sr. Barbara and Sr. Elisabeth for this excellent work. Sr. Barbara discovered that the rules used for Gregorian chant in Latin fit very well with the Swahili language.



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