SEVEN TIMES A DAY I SHALL SING PRAISE TO YOU, AND I SHALL RISE AT NIGHT TO SING YOUR PRAISE
This resolve from the psalms, taken from the sixth century rule of St Benedict, means that Benedictine nuns such as those at St Cecilia's Abbey on the Isle of Wight need good lighting in church. Bursar Sr Eustochium explains,
"Our church was built in 1907 and we still relied on gas lighting until the 1950's. The original electric lights were apparently OK if you were fortunate enough to sit directly below them, and the fluorescent tubes installed in the 70's were seen as a great improvement. The strip lights lit up the nuns' choir stalls but anyone declaiming the Word in the centre of choir had to struggle to see the text.
We had talked about a change of lighting for a number of years and when we were told in 2012 that we would soon be unable to get replacements for these types of tubes we knew we had to act."
ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
The sisters have a strict regime of not wasting electricity or money so energy efficient light sources were at the fore of the design with latest generation LED spotlights specified to highlight important areas.
The main lighting is provided by wall mounted pendants which sit comfortably within the simple architecture of the building even when switched off and not in use which was a pre-requisite of the needs. The Sisters confided to director Neil Blake, that they had never grown used to the previous system which was based around unsightly and unsympathetic linear fluorescent.
The icons, altar, tabernacle and crucifix are now all illuminated individually through the use of LED units and allow the sisters to light for effect when the occasion arises.
In a letter of thanks to Anthony J Smith(Glos)Ltd the sacristan, Sr Scholastica, wrote
"Your overall scheme has received nothing but praise, with special mention usually given to the transformation of the sanctuary both lit and un-lit without any wires showing or ugly spotlights in our sight lines"
Sr Eustochium adds
"We were particularly impressed at the planning stage when Anthony Smith asked us what lighting we would need for the service of Benediction, and where we would position the altar of repose on Maundy Thursday.These are very special occasions for Catholics and it is wonderful that they will now be properly illuminated."
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