Day 04: Sunday, May 24
Roggenberg:: Mass/tour Roggenberg Abbey/lunch at the Abbey’s restaurant/travel to Schlagl (4 hour drive)/group dinner at Schlagl/ Schlagl guest house
We began the day at Roggenberg, individually coming and going for breakfast. The group gathered at Mass in the church on the grounds. Mass was in German, minus a brief introduction and welcome, to the group, in English by the pastor.
Stefan, who we met in De Pere during Heritage Days (he presented an organ concert) played during the mass, amazingly improvising a good portion of music—“too many notes,” he said, “to record on paper.”
Listening to the familiar parts of Mass in a different language is rather surreal. I knew what was going on, at the same time I didn’t. The unfamiliar words develop a rhythm of their own not to mention the beautiful Baroque and Neoclassical surroundings, which came alive with the organ music. Worship was altogether different in a place like this.
The organ is Neoclassical according to Stefan, clean lines and minimizing the opulent Baroque embellishments seen on the altar art pieces. It is gold and white. The architect designed it to coordinate with the Baroque portions but not to match. It’s beautiful.
The front of the church, dedicated to St. Mary, mother of Jesus, is Baroque in all its glory. Oil paintings surrounded by stucco/plaster reliefs and sculptural elements of Puti (cherubs), flowers, symbols and life-sized figures—some gold, some white, some painted, some of everything!
This is interesting for Baroque, lots of white (and negative space) where the art has room to breathe. Each piece, or altar, stands on its own—the space is not completely overwhelming, I felt like I could “see” it.
The Tour brought us through the Abbey itself. Stefan, and later Ullrich (who we also met during Heritage Days) told us about the property, new gardens, the community center and classes, the wonderful restored library with its books that are sorted by COLOR—Sally Cubitt couldn’t believe her ears! She kept trying to imagine what that would look like on campus! “Would that be sorted by Pantone numbers?!“ I told her to start with “cool grey 1u.” (That is a Pantone color matching system joke.)
After the Abbey tour we sat for a group lunch with Stefan and Ullrich. A few seemingly short hours later, back on the bus. The stay at the Roggenberg hotel is hospitality lived out. Beautiful, comfortable and relaxing. After all, hospitality, translated loosely from a latin word, is a Norbertine core value.
After a late start to Schlagl and a windy road, we made it to Austria. Schlagl welcomed us with more white asparagus! We had a dinner in the old brewery cavern, half the group was even seated in gigantic barrels. I will post more pictures in the near future. For now it is late and the is just ending. As I type we are on the patio, the only internet access in this beautiful facility. One by one slowly and reluctantly departing to their quarters–it is a fun group.
Tomorrow is Mass, for those who choose to; then a tour of the brewery–more road time and a multi-night stay near Grinsing Abbey in Vienna.
Some additional links: